Ukrainian foreign minister on Russia's "dirty bomb" claim: "Drink less dirty vodka"
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Axios that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu should "drink less dirty vodka" in response to Shoigu's claim that Ukraine is preparing to use a "dirty bomb."
Why it matters: Kuleba's comment comes a day after Shoigu raised the "dirty bomb" claim in calls with the defense ministers of the U.S., France, U.K. and Turkey.
- A “dirty bomb” is an explosive device that includes both conventional explosives and nuclear material. Such devices can create widespread radioactive contamination. Echoing reports in Russian state media, Shoigu raised the idea that Ukraine could use a dirty bomb on its own soil and then blame Russia.
- Kuleba dismissed that as "absurd," said Ukraine has no such weapons, and added that "Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves." He also invited the UN's nuclear watchdog to inspect facilities in Ukraine which Russia claims are being used to develop such a bomb, tweeting: “Unlike Russia we have nothing to hide.”
- The U.S., France and U.K. also rejected Shoigu's "transparently false allegations" in a joint statement on Sunday. “The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation," they wrote.
In Monday's Axios interview, Kuleba quipped that to make such claims, Shoigu must be drinking "dirty vodka."
- “Shoigu should drink less dirty vodka because dirty vodka… throws people into Russian fairy tales," he said.
The latest: In a signal of the concern surrounding Russia's potential next move, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and his U.K. counterpart Adm. Tony Radakin both spoke on Monday with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia's top general.
- It was the first call between Milley and Gerasimov since May, per Reuters.
- The U.K. Defense Ministry said Radakin "rejected Russia's allegations that Ukraine is planning actions to escalate the conflict."
Go deeper: Zelensky slams Israel, suggests Russia will help Iran with its nuclear program
More news from the interview with Kuleba will be published later this week.