Commenting on Shoigu’s calls, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected the allegations adding that such Russian claims are dangerous since “Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves”:
Russian lies about Ukraine allegedly planning to use a ‘dirty bomb’ are as absurd as they are dangerous. Firstly, Ukraine is a committed NPT member: we neither have any ‘dirty bombs’, nor plan to acquire any. Secondly, Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) October 23, 2022
The British Defense Ministry’s statement on British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace’s conversation with the Russian defense minister noted that Shoigu said that the actions ostensibly planned by Ukraine are “facilitated by Western countries including the UK.” According to the Ministry, Wallace “refuted these claims and cautioned that such allegations should not be used as a pretext for greater escalation”:
Meanwhile, French defense minister Sébastien Lecornu told Shoigu that Paris “refuses any form of escalation, especially nuclear” during a call today, CNN reported.
“France calls on Russia to put an end to its war of aggression against Ukraine and to do everything possible to contribute to de-escalation,” Lecornu said, according to a readout of the conversation shared by France’s Ministry of the Armed Forces.
In his October 23 evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called today’s calls of Russian Defense Minister Shoigu to the defense ministers of the NATO countries a “telephone carousel” and said that everyone in the world understands who is actually the source of all the dirty things in the war:
“If someone can use nuclear weapons in our part of Europe, then it is only one entity – and this entity just ordered Comrade Shoigu to call somewhere there. If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, then this means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this,” Zelenskyy said.
The US Department of Defense has published the readout of Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III’s phone call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu:
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone Oct. 23 with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu, who requested a follow up call. Secretary Austin rejected any pretext for Russian escalation and reaffirmed the value of continued communication amid Russia’s unlawful and unjustified war against Ukraine,” the readout says.