According to a document independently confirmed by two US officials, the Biden administration would deliver controversial armor-piercing missiles containing depleted uranium to Ukraine for the first time.
The rounds are a component of a new military aid package for Ukraine that will be announced in the next week and might aid in the destruction of Russian tanks. According to a person acquainted with the situation, US Abrams tanks are scheduled to be supplied to Ukraine in the upcoming weeks and can fire the ammunition.
Depending on what is included, one of the officials estimated that the forthcoming assistance package will cost between $240 million and $375 million.
The officials stated that the package’s worth and contents were still being determined.
This would be the first US transfer of the ammunition and is sure to cause controversy, despite the fact that Britain delivered depleted uranium weapons to Ukraine earlier this year. It comes after the Biden administration’s earlier choice to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs in spite of reservations about the risks these weapons pose to innocent populations.
Depleted uranium weapons have been the subject of intense controversy, with opponents like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons claiming that exposure to depleted uranium dust poses grave health concerns, including cancer and birth problems.
Depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment, is utilised as ammunition because of its great density, which allows rounds to readily pierce armour plating and self-ignite in a blistering cloud of metal and dust.
Although depleted uranium still has some radioactivity, it is far less radioactive than uranium that occurs naturally. Nevertheless, particles from depleted uranium can remain for a long period.
In the Gulf Wars of 1990 and 2003, as well as in the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999, the United States extensively employed depleted uranium weapons.
However, the radioactive material may make Ukraine’s enormous post-war cleanup effort even more difficult. Thousands of anti-personnel mines as well as unexploded ordnance from cluster bombs and other weapons are already strewn over several areas of the nation.
The United States was reportedly considering providing depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, according to a mid-June Wall Street Journal story.
As Ukraine’s counteroffensive drags on, recent weaponry assistance supplies for that country have included artillery, air defence missiles, and ground vehicles.