Disinfo: Zelenskyy may use a dirty bomb if the US asks him to

Summary

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may use a dirty bomb if the US asks him to do so, even if this destroys his country. It can’t be ruled out that Zelenskyy, a US puppet who does what Washington requests from him even if this means the destruction of Ukraine, uses a dirty bomb. He doesn’t care about anything, he is a really despicable character.

Disproof

This is a mix of several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, in this case, part of a wider campaign about Ukraine’s alleged preparations for a dirty bomb. This manipulative story serves a double purpose: first, denigrating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a frequent target of pro-Kremlin disinformation, by framing him as a US puppet, in line with long-term narratives about Ukraine’s lack of sovereignty. At the same time, it aims to promote unsubstantiated allegations of Ukrainian plans to use a dirty bomb. Repeating previous baseless allegations as established facts while introducing minor variations is a frequent pro-Kremlin disinformation technique.

On October 23, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu phoned the defence ministers of four NATO countries: France, Turkey, Great Britain and the US. Shoigu said that Ukraine was allegedly preparing a "provocation" with the explosion of a "dirty bomb" on its territory. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not provide any evidence of this, and there is nothing to validate the Russian claim. Pictures presented by the Russian Foreign Ministry to illustrate these allegations were actually from 2010 and originally posted by the Slovenian Radioactive Waste Agency, and therefore totally unrelated to the current situation.

Ukraine has been a nuclear-free country since 1994 when the Budapest memorandum was signed. In 1998, Ukraine signed an Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and in 2006 a Protocol Additional to the Agreement which provides for strict control not only over the nuclear material present on the territory of the country, but for any nuclear research. Ukraine asked the IAEA to "immediately send experts to peaceful facilities in Ukraine, which the Russian Federation falsely describes as sites for the development of a 'dirty bomb'." IAEA inspectors found nothing suspicious in the Ukrainian facilities.

Western leaders reject Russia's 'dirty bomb' claim. EU High Representative Josep Borrell dismissed the allegations as false. In addition, diplomats from France, Britain and the United States called Russia’s allegation a pretext that Moscow has concocted for escalating the war.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims that Ukraine is going to use a dirty bomb to accuse Russia of using tactical nuclear weapons, that Kyiv is developing this bomb under US and NATO supervision, that UK is actively supporting Ukraine’s dirty bomb plan, or that Ukraine’s dirty bomb provocation will take place in November.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 316
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/11/2022
  • Article language(s) Spanish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Invasion of Ukraine, Nuclear issues, Sovereignty

Belarus

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Ukraine will inevitably end up being shared among its neighbours

Poland plans to seize part of the territory of western Ukraine. According to the Polish authorities, this land is the historical centre of Poland. If such a scenario is possible, how will it be implemented, is it by force or will Ukraine simply hand over the land?

Ukraine’s existence will inevitably end with it being shared among its neighbours. Russia would like to resolve this matter peacefully, so that the Poles simply take the three regions of Galicia, and that they persuade the Hungarians to take beyond the Carpathians, and the Romanians to take Bukovina. That will be the end of it.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives claiming that Ukraine has other countries’ territories which should be ceded to their rightful owners. This is a cynical attempt to indirectly draw other countries into Russia's unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

This claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

Moldovan export fundamentally dependent on Russia

The situation in Moldova is radically different from that in Romania and Ukraine. Exports are fundamentally dependent on Russia.

Disproof

Recurring the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Moldova will not survive without a good relationship with Russia. The argument given is that Moldova exports a large part of its production to Russia and the loss of markets would be catastrophic for the economy.

In fact, this statement no longer corresponds to the truth. Moldova's exports to the Russian market have been constantly decreasing over the last 5 years, as shown by data from the Ministry of Economy of Moldova. Currently, of the total exported goods, Moldova sent to European countries 61.6% of the volume, while to Russia only 5.1%.

Mariupol is an ancient Russian city

Mariupol is an ancient Russian city. It was there that Peter the Great founded Russia's first army flotilla and achieved his first victories. It was there that Suvorov waged his campaigns across the steppes, and it was the city that Catherine the Great would later expand.

Disproof

The allegation is part of a broader disinformation campaign to prepare the ground and justify the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia.

Mariupol cannot be considered a Russian city under any prism. Prior to WWI it was part of the Russian Empire, but so was most of the rest of Ukraine and a big part of what is today Polish territory (see map here). After the outbreak of the Ukrainian-Soviet war in 1917, it became part of the so-called Ukrainian People’s Republic and was afterwards occupied by German and Austrian troops as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In 1921, it became part of the new Socialist Republic of Ukraine, which was soon integrated in the USSR. Mariupol was always recognised by Russian authorities as Ukrainian territory, both during Soviet times and after Ukraine’s independence in 1991.

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