Ukraine’s defense minister says he believes Russia is trying to “blackmail” the world with negotiations, creating the specter of a dirty bomb.

Speaking to journalists in Kyiv, Alyaksei Reznikov said that the Russian government is trying to divert attention from the failure of his country’s military mobilization, as well as stop Western countries from supplying Ukraine with weapons and equipment.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shaigu said earlier this week Ukraine was preparing to use a dirty bomb (a combination of explosives and radioactive material) on its own territory as a way of discrediting Russia.

He provided no evidence and his claims were immediately rejected by Ukraine, Britain, America and NATO, among others.

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Mr. Reznikov stated this now RussiaThe ambition is simply to create a sense of anxiety as a precursor to negotiations that are supposed to allow Russia to keep the land it has illegally seized.

“You can try to hear them – Lavrov, Shaiga and others,” said Mr. Reznikov.

“All Kremlin thugs are trying to deliver [the message] your capital that they are ready for negotiations.

“It’s interesting because they see that the mobilization campaign is a big failure for them. They try to find a new solution for their interests.

“And I think they’re trying to stop your countries from supporting Ukraine, stop supplying new weapons, stop making Ukraine more efficient.”

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What is a dirty bomb?

When asked about the possibility of a negotiated settlement, he told Sky News that there should be “no negotiations and no land payment to save face for the Kremlin”.

But he added that a deal was possible, probably within the first seven years after the occupation, citing the British-Chinese agreement on Hong Kong as a model that could work.

“But not at the moment,” he said. “We have an absolutely clear plan for the liberation of all our territories. That’s understandable.”

Mr Reznikov also suggested that Russia could have taken radioactive material from the Chernobyl or Zaporozhye nuclear power plants for use in building a dirty bomb, a prospect he said “disturbed” him.

He said he did not think Russia would use nuclear weapons, mainly because of the anger it would provoke from countries such as India and China. And he repeated his call to international partners to supply Ukraine with more air defense systems as an urgent priority.