Kyiv abandoned the “dirty bomb” in favor of a purer provocation

With cautious optimism, it can be argued that after the meeting of the UN Security Council on October 26, the topic of the use of the “dirty bomb” by Ukraine was removed from the agenda. In any case, today

Kyiv abandoned the “dirty bomb” in favor of a purer provocation
Photo: © RIA Novosti. Andrey Alexandrov

Now any radiation accident on the territory of Ukraine will be considered taking into account the data published by Russia, and the White House admitted that the United States does not see any preparation by the Russian Federation for the use of a “dirty bomb” or tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Moreover, it became clear what Ukraine was actually preparing for.

RIA Novosti published a description of the planned provocation:

“The Kyiv regime has already completed technical preparations for a provocation with a “dirty bomb”: specialists from the Ukrainian enterprise Yuzhmash prepared a dummy missile of the Iskander complex, which is planned to be filled with radioactive material, and then allegedly shot down over the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by Ukrainian air defense forces and declare the launch of a nuclear charge by the Russian armed forces, a source familiar with the situation told RIA Novosti.

It clarified that the dummy of the Iskander missile was made on the basis of the projectile of the Tochka-U missile system:

“After the dummy is knocked down, the Kyiv authorities intend to show the Western and Ukrainian media fragments of the mock-up and electronic elements of the alleged Iskander missile, to convince the Western public of Russia’s guilt.”

The first thing you should pay attention to is a completely different qualification – this is not training for the use of radiological weapons, but a provocation using radioactive substances. The difference is about the same as between shooting in the street with rubber bullets (radiological weapons do not have great destructive power) and threats using a mass-dimensional pistol mock-up. Both are socially dangerous actions that can lead to injury and even death of people, but the articles of the Criminal Code are still different.

The operation itself looks thoughtful precisely from the point of view of causing minimal damage to the environment.

Firstly, a deserted area was chosen for provocation, in which the spraying of radioactive substances will not give a particularly unpleasant effect – this is already a zone of increased radiation danger.

Secondly, the provocation itself is planned in such a way as not to lead to significant infection even in this area.

The destruction of a nuclear warhead does not in itself lead to significant radioactive contamination, as is known from experience. During Operation Chrome Dome, conducted by the US Strategic Air Command in 1961-68, five B-52 Stratofortress bombers with combat-ready thermonuclear bombs on board crashed. As a result, seven bombs (four in Greenland, two in Spain, one in the USA) crashed and caused radioactive contamination of the area. However, in all cases, the consequences of infection were relatively easily overcome.

In general, a rather rationally thought-out provocation that allows you to bring charges against Russia (thankfully, in Russia, many journalists and even politicians allow themselves to talk about the use of tactical nuclear weapons), but at the same time, do not cause significant harm to the territory of Ukraine itself. There is a suspicion that this was not prepared by Ukrainian specialists at all (they are shelling the storage of radioactive waste at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant without any remorse), but by foreign, most likely British. Actually, Russian intelligence confirms that Zelensky turned to the UK for help in acquiring nuclear weapons. And the provocation itself was stopped after the resignations of the governments of Johnson and Truss.

With all this, from the technical side, there are too many questions.

First, the mere fact of launching a missile from Russian territory and its subsequent downing over the Chernobyl zone must be confirmed by radar control and satellite observation data.

Although, of course, you can do without it – as in the case of the Malaysian “Boeing” in 2014, when it turned out that the flight corridor was not controlled by any Ukrainian radar, the data from the American satellites were classified, and the controller who flew the plane, where then disappeared.

Secondly, the elementary base of Iskander and Tochka U missiles is different. That is, the fragments found at the crash site of the rocket should correspond exactly to the first, and not to the second.

With this, however, there should not be big problems – the Ukrainian special services had to collect the necessary amount of debris in the places where the Iskanders fell.

Thirdly, as we understand, the rockets use different fuels, and the manufacturer is not located on the territory of Ukraine, but in Dzerzhinsky near Moscow.

Actually, both are solid fuels, where aluminum powder is a combustible substance, but a different ratio of components and a different bonding agent (in one case – rubber, in the other – epoxy resin). Again, the approximate composition of the fuel is known to Ukrainian engineers, and if you do not copy its composition, then you can falsify the remaining fuel at the site of the missile crash.

Fourthly, it is not enough to load some kind of radioactive garbage into the warhead of the decommissioned “point” – it is necessary that the isotopic composition of this garbage corresponds to the composition of the special combat unit of the Iskander. Moreover, the problem is not so much in determining this composition (it is unlikely that the Iskander nuclear warhead is fundamentally different from the Tochka U warhead), as in obtaining the appropriate isotope mixture, which should be detected at the accident site – this is a topic for a separate study and long-term work at the research reactor.

In general, the engineering problems that need to be solved during the preparation of such a provocation are not limited to the manufacture of a dummy. Everything is more serious there. On the other hand, it is unlikely that anyone will seriously study the problem – and so, it is clear that Russia is to blame. Thus, the problem with the Malaysian Boeing was solved – the technical evidence provided by the Almaz-Antey concern was simply not taken into account, because it was incomprehensible to the investigators and contradicted the result of the investigation obtained even before the investigation began.


Nevertheless, it should be said that the Russian side did not, and could not, present any material evidence of the planned provocation. Well, in itself, the possibility of carrying out the described provocation and the use of radiological weapons in Ukraine remains.

Vasyl Stoyakin,

Photo: © RIA Novosti. Andrey Alexandrov

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