The Insitute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment that Russian Defense Minister's calls to certain NATO countries claiming that Ukraine is preparing to conduct a false-flag attack using a dirty bomb are likely intended to intimidate Western states into cutting or limiting support for Ukraine.
The experts note that the recipients of Sergei Shoigu’s calls are notable. On Oct. 23, he spoke with U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar while also having a second call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in the past three days.
"The Kremlin has repeatedly framed the U.S. and the U.K. as Ukraine’s primary backers and the enablers of what it claims are aggressive policies toward Russia, while France and Turkey have (to varying degrees) framed themselves as mediators in the conflict," the ISW said. "Shoigu’s round of calls was likely to further Russian saber-rattling to intimidate Ukraine’s Western supporters and possibly widen fissures within the NATO alliance, not condition setting for imminent nuclear use."
This development, the experts say, follows Russia's continued military setbacks and the likely loss of western Kherson by the end of the year.