Although depleted uranium is a byproduct of uranium enrichment, US officials say such munitions are common and pose no radioactive threat. They cite studies by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, demonstrating that “the existence of depleted uranium residues dispersed in the environment does not pose a radiological risk to population of affected regions.
However, opponents such as the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons say there are dangerous health risks, including cancer, from touching or ingesting DU dust.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Britain of sending “weapons with a nuclear component”, raising concerns that Moscow is using misinformation about the weapon to spread anti-Western propaganda.
Still, US officials ultimately decided to send the munitions because they are considered the most effective way to arm US-made Abrams tanks, according to a Defense Department official familiar with the projects. The first tranche of 10 Abrams will arrive in Ukraine in mid-September, after a group of Ukrainian soldiers completed a training program to use them last month, POLITICO first reported.
This decision to send depleted uranium weapons follows the White House’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, which are banned by more than 100 countries due to the danger posed by unused munitions. ordnance for civilians.
US officials hope the new Abrams tanks can help Ukraine in its slow-moving counteroffensive in the southeast of the country.