Nuclear Bombs as a Justification for War: The Case of the Russia-Ukraine War

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Bayar E.

6th INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND INNOVATIVE SCIENCES CONGRESS, Burdur, Turkey, 24 - 25 November 2022, pp.336-337

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Burdur
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.336-337
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


The "special military operation" launched by Russia on the territory of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 was considered by the world public as Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, which tried to legitimize its military presence in Ukraine by citing many reasons such as ensuring the neutrality of Ukraine, freeing it from the Nazis and preventing the possible genocide against Russian nationals in Ukraine, brought the claim that Ukraine was trying to produce a "Nuclear Dirty Bomb" after a while. By dirty bombs it is usually meant radiological weapons/bombs. However, with the "Nuclear Dirty Bomb" claim, Russia wanted to give a potential basis for its claims by referring to the nuclear capacity of Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine, which was included in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime after the end of the Cold War and handed it over to Russia to destroy its nuclear weapons with the Budapest Memorandum it signed, showed its intention to carry out its activities in the nuclear field for peaceful purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency sent observers to Ukraine to investigate Russia's claims. This decision was taken at the request of Ukraine, which wanted to prove that Russia's claims were not based on evidence. It would be an over-optimistic point of view to think that Russia would abandon its claims if the agency's investigations do not reveal evidence of Ukraine's activities to produce nuclear dirty bombs. Because this perception of security threat, which Russia is trying to build through discourse, is a very useful tool for the policies that are trying to be sustained, that is, it is a part of the "securitization" policy. In this study, the allegations of nuclear dirty bombs, which are tried to be kept in the security agenda as a part of Russia's "military operation" against Ukraine, will be focused on and these claims will be examined within the framework of the securitization approach. In this context, the approach adopted by the Copenhagen School will be exhibited and it will be focused on how these allegations are constructed as discourse rather than their reality as a security threat. Therefore, at the center of the study will be the role played by the allegations in securitization policies, not the debates on whether the allegations made by Russia are true or not.


Keywords: Dirty Bomb, Nuclear Dirty Bomb, Securitization, Ukraine, Russia, Copenhagen School