Moscow accuses Kiev of planned nuclear provocation

02/19/2023 22:13 (act. 02/19/2023 22:20)

The Kremlin has no evidence ©APA/AFP

Russia’s Ministry of Defense accuses the Ukrainian leadership of preparing a nuclear provocation in the war zone – without providing evidence. In a statement published on Sunday, Russia’s military leadership said Kiev would blame Moscow for the “gross breach” of nuclear safety. However, the Ministry does not explain how this allegation came about, nor is there any evidence for it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously claimed he knew the site where Kiev was building a dirty bomb containing nuclear material. Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency traveled to Ukraine to investigate the allegations. There was no confirmation of the Russian claims.

According to Russian information, next week, on the first anniversary of the war of aggression ordered by Putin on February 24, Kiev plans to accuse Moscow of indiscriminate bombing of nuclear objects and radioactive pollution of the environment. For this purpose, some containers with radioactive substances had been transported by a European country, which was not identified, circumventing customs regulations. The material should then be used to test for contamination from radioactive hazardous objects.

Ukraine, for its part, has repeatedly accused Russia of wanting to trigger a nuclear catastrophe with rockets flying past nuclear power plants. The leadership in Kiev speaks of terrorism and sanctions against Moscow’s nuclear industry.

Meanwhile, three people were killed in Russian attacks in the Kherson region on Sunday, according to Ukrainian sources. Four other people, including two children, were injured when a grenade hit the backyard of a house in the village of Burgunka in southern Ukraine, the regional administration reported on the online service Telegram. In the village, an eight-year-old boy was also wounded by Russian fire.

In September, Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including Kherson. In mid-November, Moscow ordered its troops to withdraw from the city. In Russia, the governor of the Belgorod border region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, told Telegram that a young woman was killed by Ukrainian shelling in the village of Novaya Tavolshanka.

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in his nightly video address, Russia has suffered heavy casualties in the fighting in eastern Donbass. The situation there is “very complicated”. Ukraine is inflicting “extraordinarily high losses” on the invaders. Zelenskyy cited several places in the region where intense fighting has been going on for months. The information cannot be independently verified. A Russian statement is not available.

Journalist Denis Trubetskoy said Sunday night on ORF’s ZiB 2 that he does not believe the war “will end this year”. According to Trubetskoy, there is still a consensus among the Ukrainian population “to keep fighting” and defeat Russia “as far as possible”. For Kiev it is “inevitable to ask for weapons”, the demand for fighters exists from the beginning, it is “very important for air defense”, for example to intercept missiles, Trubetskoy said in an ORF circuit to Kiev recorded before the transmission. If China actually delivered arms to Moscow, it would “disappoint” Ukraine and become a problem for Kiev, the journalist told ORF.