Cracks are beginning to show in Russia’s resolve relating to its war on Ukraine. Speaking at the first meeting of a new council to manage the government’s work, Vladimir Putin said increased coordination of government structures and regions was necessary. The Russian President admitted his country is facing “issues” and urged his government to come up with rapid solutions to the economic “restrictions” imposed by the West.
He said: “Now we are faced with the need to more rapidly resolve issues associated with providing support for the special military operation and the need to counter economic restrictions that were imposed on us, which are truly unprecedented without any exaggeration.”
The humiliating admission comes as Russia accused Ukraine of preparing a “dirty bomb” on its territory, an assertion dismissed by Western and Ukrainian officials as misinformation and a pretext for intensifying the war.
Moscow sent a letter detailing the allegations to the United Nations on Monday, and Russia raised the issue at a closed meeting with the Security Council.
“We’re quite satisfied because we raised the awareness,” Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters. “I don’t mind people saying that Russia is crying wolf if this doesn’t happen because this is a terrible, terrible disaster that threatens potentially the whole of the Earth.”
He said the evidence was in intelligence information that had been shared with Western counterparts with the “necessary level of clearance”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday repeated Russia’s allegations and said the West was foolish to dismiss them.
They follow hints from Moscow that it might be forced to use a tactical nuclear weapon against Ukraine, whose president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the dirty bomb allegation showed Moscow was planning such an attack and seeking to blame Kyiv.
With Ukrainian forces advancing into Russian-occupied Kherson province, threatening a major defeat for Moscow, Russian officials phoned their Western counterparts on Sunday and Monday to air their suspicions.
Russia accused the Kyiv government of ordering two organisations to create a dirty bomb, an explosive device laced with radioactive material, without giving any evidence.
READ MORE: Russia’s economy will ‘die by winter’ as Putin now at ‘final countd’
France, Britain and the United States said the allegations were “transparently false” and Washington warned Russia there would be “severe consequences” for any nuclear use.
“Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it (to) use a tactical nuclear weapon,” US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. “I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false flag operation yet, we don’t know. But it would be a serious mistake.”
Britain’s Deputy UN Ambassador James Kariuki told reporters: “This is pure Russian misinformation of the kind of we’ve seen many times before and it should stop.”
Russia’s defence ministry said the aim of a dirty bomb attack by Ukraine would be to blame Moscow for the radioactive contamination, which it said Russia had begun preparing for.
In an apparent response to Moscow’s allegation, the UN nuclear watchdog said it was preparing to send inspectors to two unidentified Ukrainian sites at Kyiv’s request, both already subject to its inspections.
Russians force evacuation as Ukrainian troops on verge of taking city [INSIGHT]
Putin warned of ‘Kremlin power struggle’ as military tensions soar [ANALYSIS]
BBC broadcasts huge ‘word cloud’ calling Rishi Sunak a c**t and t**t [VIDEO]
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters the inspectors would receive full access, and he called on Moscow to demonstrate the same transparency as Ukraine.
Russia’s state news agency RIA has identified what it said were the two sites involved – the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in the central Dnipropetrovsk region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv.
Since Russian forces suffered major defeats in September, Putin has doubled down, calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists, announcing the annexation of occupied territory and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons.
In southern Ukraine, Russia has ordered civilians in Kherson to evacuate territory it controls on the western bank of the Dnipro River, where Ukrainian forces have been advancing this month after Russia claimed to have annexed the area.
A defeat for Russia there would be one of its biggest setbacks in the conflict.