UN nuclear watchdog starts 'dirty bomb' inspections in Ukraine
The UN nuclear watchdog says IAEA inspectors have "begun -- and would soon complete -- verification activities at two locations in Ukraine."
The UN's nuclear watchdog said Monday it had started inspections in Ukraine as part of "independent verification" of Russian statements that Kiev is producing so-called dirty bombs.
The agency issued a statement saying that inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have "begun -- and would soon complete -- verification activities at two locations in Ukraine."
IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said he would provide later this week "his initial conclusions about the latest verification activities at the two sites."
The inspections come after the Ukrainian government's written request to send IAEA teams there.
Moscow has been accusing Ukraine of preparing to use dirty bombs on Ukrainian soil to blame Russia, while Kiev claims that Russia itself might use a dirty bomb in a "false flag" attack to blame Russian Forces for killing civilians, who are considered noncombatants protected under International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
Last week, the agency said it inspected "one of the two locations a month ago and no undeclared nuclear activities or materials were found there."
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the IAEA last Thursday to inspect Ukraine's nuclear sites "as fast as possible".
Al Mayadeen's correspondent quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying a week ago that "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his regime's fate were the subjects of the recent Russian-Western contacts."
"Moscow has warned the West that it will bear the consequences of Kiev's use of a dirty bomb," the sources said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu expressed concerns to his French, Turkish, and UK counterparts last week that Kiev, according to credible sources in various countries, including Ukraine, was planning a provocation involving the detonation of a dirty bomb on its own territory in order to blame Moscow for the use of weapons of mass destruction and thus tarnish the country's image.
The foreign ministers of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement rejecting Russia's statements, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected them as well.
It is worth noting that Ukraine has a stockpile of radioactive material that can be used for its "dirty bomb", including spent nuclear fuel storage facilities at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.