Friday, March 24, 2023

Russia warns use of depleted uranium shells in Ukraine would harm population, land

Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday that the use of depleted uranium shells in Ukraine would harm Ukrainian troops, the wider population and negatively affect the country’s agriculture sector for decades or even centuries.

Russia has reacted furiously to plans outlined by Britain earlier this week to send shells containing depleted uranium to Ukraine.

London says they are a conventional form of ammunition, but President Vladimir Putin said the move showed NATO members were sending weapons with a “nuclear component” to Kyiv.

 The use of depleted uranium munitions by Kiev could harm Ukrainian troops, and the West is well aware of that, the Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops, Igor Kirillov, said on Friday.

"The West is well aware of the negative consequences that the use of depleted uranium munitions can have. Despite the risk that the use of such weapons could irreparably damage the health of Ukrainian troops and civilians, NATO countries, in particular Great Britain, have expressed the willingness to provide the Kiev regime with such weapons," Kirillov said at a briefing.

The senior Russian defense official pointed to documents that confirm NATO’s awareness of the risks associated with the use of such munitions, for soldiers and civilians alike, as well as the potential environmental hazards. Kirillov cited the US Army’s 1994 report to Congress, which found that no existing technology could mitigate the toxicity of depleted uranium (DU), while the process of decontaminating areas affected by DU is complicated.

Citing a report published by the Royal Society of London in 2001, Kirillov also said that lung cancer was the highest risk of radiation-induced cancer from exposure to DU.

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