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U.S. to send ‘controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium’ to Ukraine



Two U.S. officials confirmed the contents of a document seen by Reuters stating that for the first time, the Biden administration will be sending “controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine.”

The help is part of a new military aid assistance package being sent to Ukraine; it is set to be unveiled within the next week, and are expected to be delivered to Ukraine in the upcoming weeks.

Reuters’ report states that one of the officials said the package being sent to Ukraine will be worth between $240 million and $375 million, but both contents and value are still being finalized.

 Britain sent depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine earlier this year, but the first U.S. shipment of the ammunition will “likely stir controversy” Reuters writes. “It follows an earlier decision by the Biden administration to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite concerns over the dangers such weapons pose to civilians.”

A by-product of uranium enrichment, the depleted uranium is used for ammunition because it has the ability to penetrate armor plating, as well as self-ignite into a cloud of dust and metal.

Reuters reports: “The use of depleted uranium munitions has been fiercely debated, with opponents like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons saying there are dangerous health risks from ingesting or inhaling depleted uranium dust, including cancers and birth defects.”

Depleted uranium is radioactive, but less so than naturally occurring uranium. After the United States used depleted uranium munitions in the 1990 and 2003 Gulf Wars and the NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia in 1999, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated studies “indicated that the existence of depleted uranium residues dispersed in the environment does not pose a radiological hazard to the population of the affected regions.”

However, “the radioactive material could add to Ukraine’s massive post-war clean-up challenge” writes Reuters.

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