Russia denounces U.S. plan to send Ukraine depleted uranium munitions

September 7, 2023

Russia on Thursday denounced the Pentagon’s latest $175 million security assistance plan, which includes depleted uranium munitions for Abrams tanks.

Depleted uranium is left over when most of the highly radioactive isotopes of uranium have been stripped out of the metal for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. It is far less radioactive than enriched uranium, and it is unable to produce a nuclear reaction. However, depleted uranium is extremely dense, making it a highly effective projectile. It can tear through enemy tanks’ armor as it becomes sharper on impact with a target.

The $175 million package also includes anti-armor systems, tactical air navigation systems and additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). It’s part of a total $1 billion Ukraine aid package announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken amid his latest surprise visit to Kyiv this week.

Russia called the Pentagon’s sending the depleted uranium rounds a “criminal act.” 

“This is not just an escalatory step, but it is a reflection of Washington’s outrageous disregard for the environmental consequences of using this kind of ammunition in a combat zone. This is, in fact, a criminal act, I cannot give any other assessment,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Britain sent depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine earlier this year. Its Ministry of Defense at the time called the ammo “a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons,” adding, “Russia knows this.”

The British Defense Ministry went on to say that decrying the munitions was the Kremlin “deliberately trying to disinform.”

PHOTO: Depleted uranium rounds, June 23, 2022 at Tooele Army Depot in Utah

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