Ukraine update: Russia stokes fear of false-flag campaign, saying Ukraine may use chemical warfare

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Moscow sent a letter to the United Nations on Monday detailing allegations that Kyiv is planning to use a “dirty bomb” on its own territory, though Ukraine and the West have dismissed the claim as a set-up for a false flag operation whereby Russia would blame Ukraine for its own use of such a device. A dirty bomb consists of conventional explosives as well as radioactive material. 

“We will regard the use of the dirty bomb by the Kyiv regime as an act of nuclear terrorism,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council in the letter.

“These allegations are false,” a senior Defense Department official told reporters at the Pentagon today.

“The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation,” the official continued while reiterating that the U.S. has so far not seen any evidence that Russia is planning “to employ nuclear weapons.” 

The White House has publicly tried to downplay the risk of nuclear warfare and calm public fears after President Joe Biden stoked fears of a “nuclear Armageddon” earlier this month.

“He is not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical and nuclear weapons, or biological or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming. It’s part of Russian doctrine that they will not — they will not — if the motherland is threatened, they’ll use whatever force they need, including nuclear weapons,” Biden said at the time.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Minister Sergey Shoigu had spoken by phone on Friday and again on Monday, according to the official, who said that Austin had also been in contact with Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov to discuss the situation.

“You can expect to see a series of phone calls with allies and partners in the days ahead, as well,” the official added. 

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday that there would be consequences for Russia if it uses a dirty bomb in Ukraine or any other nuclear weapon. “It would certainly be another example of President Putin’s brutality if he were to use a so-called ‘dirty bomb.’ There would be consequences for Russia whether it uses a ‘dirty bomb’ or a nuclear bomb. We’ve been very clear about that,” Price said at a press briefing.

He added that it was important that Moscow know the “profound nature of the consequences” that would befall the country should it engage in nuclear use.

He did not detail those consequences nor say whether they would be different depending on the type of weapon.

Price said that the U.S. has not seen any reason to adjust its own nuclear posture.

U.S. considers sending HAWK air defense systems

Reuters reported that the Biden administration is reportedly considering sending stored HAWK interceptor air defense missiles to Ukraine to help it defend itself against ongoing Russian cruise missile and drone attacks, citing two U.S. officials.

The HAWK equipment would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems the U.S. has already provided to Kyiv, though the officials said that U.S. PATRIOT missiles remain off the table for Ukraine.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said that the Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to transfer the HAWK systems to Kyiv. The PDA allows the administration to bypass congressional approval to respond to an emergency.

Russia continues evacuations in Kherson region

Meanwhile, Russian authorities have ordered civilians to evacuate Moscow-controlled territories in southern Ukraine along the Dnipro River where Kyiv forces have been advancing. 

Ukraine’s military said Kremlin-installed authorities in Kherson have been evacuating administrative facilities, banks, and emergency response workers. It also reported that Russians have been robbing and looting local residents and stealing Internet service provider equipment, among other items in the region. 

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military spy chief, however, said that Russian forces are, in fact, preparing to defend Kherson city, not retreat.

“They are creating the illusion that all is lost. Yet at the same time they are moving new military units in and preparing to defend the streets of Kherson,” he told the Ukrainska Pravda online media outlet.

The Kherson region is Russia’s only stronghold in the province that bisects Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. Its loss would represent a stunning and potentially crippling blow to the Kremlin.