WASHINGTON – If Russia were to deploy a dirty bomb or other type of nuclear weapon in Ukraine, there would be consequences, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said.
Those consequences have been communicated to Russia at a variety of levels, he said during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Russian allegations that Ukraine is preparing a dirty bomb are patently false, he added.
The Defense Department maintains sophisticated technical means of detecting nuclear or radiological detonations of any kind, he mentioned.
“It’s something that we take very seriously and continue to monitor 24/7,” he said.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III participated in phone conversations yesterday with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine and Russia’s false accusation that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb, Ryder said.
Also, Austin spoke by phone with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday and again on Sunday in an effort to keep the lines of communication open in order to manage escalation and prevent potential miscalculation, Ryder said.
Ryder also affirmed that China remains the pacing challenge for the department.
“We’re going to continue to do our part to ensure that the U.S. military is prepared to continue working with allies and partners in the region to be able to deter and preferably ensure stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Separately, Ryder said Austin was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and extended his deepest condolences to the family.
In a statement, Austin said: “Today, the entire Department of Defense mourns the loss of a towering intellect, a steadfast leader, a devoted mentor to countless public servants and a great patriot who devoted his life to strengthening the security of the country that he loved.
“Secretary Carter was a scientist, a scholar and a strategist. He understood that the United States was, as he put it, ‘the most important provider of security to the world.’ And he dedicated his long and storied career to fortifying our republic and strengthening what he loved to call “the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”