U.S. disputes Russia’s allegations that Ukraine plans to use dirty bomb on itself

The White House sharply rebutted Russia’s accusations Sunday that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory and then blame Moscow.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the National Security Council called Russia’s allegations of a possible false flag operation by Ukraine “transparently false” and accused Moscow of making the claim to lay the groundwork for its own escalation of the war.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu has made the claim of Ukraine’s possibly using a dirty bomb in phone calls with several Western defense ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Shoygu is using the calls to spin “stories about the so-called ‘dirty’ nuclear bomb.”

Austin spoke with Shoygu for 30 minutes Sunday, a U.S. official said. After they had not spoken for about five months, it was the second time they had talked in the past 48 hours. Austin called Shoygu on Friday. The brief readout said Austin emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.

“Secretary Austin rejected any pretext for Russian escalation and reaffirmed the value of continued communication amid Russia’s unlawful and unjustified war against Ukraine,” the Defense Department’s press secretary, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, said in a statement. Ryder said Shoygu also requested a follow-up phone call with Austin.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson similarly pushed back against Shoygu’s claims.

“We reject reports of Minister Shoygu’s transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory,” Watson said in a statement.

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