UN inspectors find no sign of ‘dirty bomb’ in Ukraine

Ukraine invited UN’s nuclear watchdog to inspect three sites after Russia accused Kyiv of planning to use a dirty bomb.

IAEA members depart from a hotel in Kyiv
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi, centre, with other IAEA members at a hotel in Kyiv [File: Roman Pilipey/EPA]

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has said it found no sign of “undeclared nuclear activities” at three sites it inspected in Ukraine at Kyiv’s request following Russian allegations concerning a so-called “dirty bomb“.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement on Thursday that it had been given “unfettered access” to the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv, Eastern Mining and Processing Plant in Zhovti Kody, and Production Association Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant in Dnipro.

“Based on the evaluation of the results available to date and the information provided by Ukraine, the agency did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials at the locations,” the Vienna-based organisation said.

Inspectors also took environmental samples that will be sent off for lab analysis and the IAEA will report back on the results, the statement added.

All three of the sites had previously been mentioned by Russia in connection with its unfounded accusation that Ukraine was planning to use a dirty bomb – a conventional explosive device laced with radioactive, biological or chemical materials.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, claimed in a letter sent to members of the UN Security Council last week that Ukraine’s nuclear research facility and mining company “received direct orders from [President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy’s regime to develop such a dirty bomb”.

Moscow has not provided evidence for its claims, which Ukraine’s government has rejected as false.

Some Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Moscow of making the allegation to give itself cover to detonate its own dirty bomb and pin the blame on Kyiv.

Source: News Agencies