Using depleted uranium shells in Ukraine would harm the people for decades

Mar 25, 2023 - 19:55
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Using depleted uranium shells in Ukraine would harm the people for decades

MOSCOW - The use of depleted uranium shells by Ukrainian forces would harm local people and contaminate their country for decades, Russia warned.

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Friday that the use of depleted uranium shells by Ukrainians against Russian forces in Ukraine would harm not only troops but also the general population and negatively affect the country's agricultural sector for decades or even centuries.

Earlier this week Britain announced its plan to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine.

The chief of Russia's nuclear defense force warned on Friday that the use of depleted uranium in the war would have dire consequences for local people, of which US-led forces are well aware.

"The West is aware of the negative consequences of using depleted uranium ammunition," Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's nuclear, biological and chemical defense forces, said in a statement.

Kirillov said data on the use of depleted uranium by the United States and its allies in the Balkans and Iraq shows serious and lasting negative effects on local populations and the environment.

He warned that Ukraine's agribusiness could suffer "decades, if not centuries, into the future."

Peace groups oppose the use of weapons, particularly nuclear weapons, which are deadly in the long term.

The dust produced by depleted uranium weapons can be inhaled, while missed ammunition can contaminate groundwater and soil, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons.

However, military leaders in the West see depleted uranium as an effective weapon capable of penetrating armored shields and a good tool for destroying a modern tank. Ammunition containing depleted uranium can penetrate tanks and similar armored vehicles due to the density of the nuclear component and other physical properties.

In addition, the UK claims that it would be difficult to inhale enough depleted uranium dust to be harmed.

The Russians dismissed the UK's claims, insisting that the claims about the harmlessness of depleted uranium were wrong, and in response warned that the West was approaching a "nuclear collision" with Russia.

"One more step has been taken and there are fewer and fewer left," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said after the UK announced it would supply Kiev not only with tanks but also with depleted uranium.

Shoigu warned the British not to escalate the Ukraine war to the next level. "Of course Russia has an answer."

According to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, Russia is among the top 20 countries in the world producing uranium weapons.

Since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the West has supplied huge shipments of arms and ammunition to the Kiev armed forces.

The West's continued flooding of Ukraine with more advanced weapons and deadlier ammunition came despite Russia's efforts to end the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his latest attempt to end the Ukraine crisis, said he welcomes a Chinese proposal for a Moscow-Kiev mediation on the road to peace.

However, a recent meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart was seen by the US and its allies as an attempt by Beijing to demonstrate China's support for Russia. Xi's meeting with Putin sends us a "very disturbing message," US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Thursday after the two leaders' meeting.

Beijing described the purpose of Xi's trip to Moscow earlier this week as a "visit for peace."

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