US will supply Kiev with DU tank ammunition during the Ukraine conflict

US will supply Kiev with DU tank ammunition during the Ukraine conflict

Depleted uranium tank shells will be provided to Ukraine as part of the US’s announcement to provide more than $1 billion (£800 million) in military and humanitarian help.

Russia criticized the decision to supply US Abrams tanks with the divisive armor-piercing weapons.

The declaration was made as Ukraine accused Russia of attacking a market street with missiles and killing 17 people.

Rostov-on-Don in Russia and areas close to Moscow were reportedly targets of suspected Ukrainian drone assaults overnight.

Unconfirmed footage appeared to show a bomb in the heart of Rostov, where one person was lightly hurt and many automobiles were damaged, according to Governor Vasily Golubev.

He claimed that two drones that were aiming at the city in southern Russia had been shot down.

A drone that was aimed at the town of Ramenskoye, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, was also shot down with no known damage.

It was impossible to independently verify the Russian reports.

What are shells made of depleted uranium and are they dangerous?
New security measures for Ukraine were unveiled as top US diplomat Antony Blinken was in Kyiv.

The $175 million in US military supplies for Ukraine includes 120mm uranium tank rounds for M1 Abrams tanks that should arrive there later this year.

Depleted uranium is naturally occurring uranium that has had much of its radioactive material removed, but not all of it.

Depleted uranium can be used to strengthen the armour plating on tanks because uranium is a particularly dense metal. In order to cut through traditional tank armor, it can also be applied to the tips of bullets, mortar rounds, and tank shells.

Depleted uranium shells ignite after contact and become sharper on impact, increasing their capacity to penetrate armor.

The International Atomic Energy Agency warns that people who handle depleted uranium round fragments may be exposed to radiation, despite the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation’s finding that exposure to depleted uranium does not significantly poison people.

A Pentagon spokesman stated in March that no depleted uranium ammunition would be delivered to Ukraine. Following the UK’s announcement that it will give Kyiv the armour-piercing bullets, remarks were made.

Additionally, the US will deliver tactical air navigation equipment, anti-armour systems, and extra Himars missile ammo.

According to Mr. Blinken, “this new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum.”

The move was criticized as “an indicator of inhumanity” by the Russian embassy in Washington, which also said that the US was “deluding itself by refusing to accept the failure of the Ukrainian military’s so-called counter-offensive.”

Although Ukraine’s territorial gains in the counteroffensive since June have been extremely modest, Ukrainian generals assert that they have penetrated Russia’s powerful southern first line of defenses.

In an attack on Kostyantynivka on Wednesday, 17 people—including a child—were killed in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

The incident was attributed to Moscow by the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, although Russia has not yet responded.

Why are depleted uranium shells used and are they dangerous?

Depleted uranium shells contain a “nuclear component,” according to Russia, which has cautioned the UK against providing them as ammunition for the tanks it is deploying to Ukraine.

Although depleted uranium makes weapons more potent, there is concern that these weapons could pose a harm to people in their vicinity.

Depleted uranium: What is it?
Natural uranium that has had much of its radioactive material removed, but not all of it, is referred to as depleted uranium.

It is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process used to make nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.

Why is depleted uranium used in some weapons?
Depleted uranium can be used to strengthen the armour plating on tanks because uranium is a particularly dense metal.

In order to cut through traditional tank armor, it can also be applied to the tips of bullets, mortar rounds, and tank shells.

Depleted uranium shells ignite after contact and become sharper on impact, increasing their capacity to penetrate armor.

Where have weapons made of depleted uranium been used?
According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the US and UK developed depleted uranium missiles in the 1970s.

They were employed for the first time in the Gulf War in 1991, followed by the Kosovo Conflict in 1999, and the Iraq War in 2003.

What weapons with depleted uranium are being shipped to Ukraine?
The MoD declares that it would deliver 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv along with depleted uranium shells for use by Ukraine’s armed forces.

It claims that the shells will let Ukrainian tank personnel engage enemy objectives at a distance that minimizes their vulnerability to counterfire.

Although it is unknown if Russia has deployed depleted uranium weapons in Ukraine, a White House official told the AP news agency that it does.

Depleted uranium ammunition is not regarded as a type of nuclear weapon, according to Dr. Marina Miron of Kings College London.

They are not intended to poison anyone. Because of their capacity to puncture armor, they are used.

What kinds of weapons are being given to Ukraine?
How deadly are weapons made of depleted uranium?

Radioactivity in depleted uranium is minimal.

Depleted uranium shells could pollute the earth, according to Dr. Miron, if they fall to the ground. “For this reason, their use in Kosovo by the US and its NATO allies sparked controversy.”

In 2007, the UN General Assembly mandated a review of the health impacts of depleted uranium weapons, and since then, several international organizations have conducted additional reviews.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) concluded that exposure to depleted uranium does not significantly harm humans.

However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warns that anyone who handle depleted uranium round fragments may be exposed to radiation.

According to a 2019 study that appeared in the journal Environmental Pollution, there may be a connection between the usage of D-U weaponry and birth abnormalities in Nasiriyah, an Iraqi city.

Another issue is that “in a post-conflict environment, the presence of depleted uranium residues can further increase the anxiety of local populations,” according to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

According to a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report from 2022, the UNEP is concerned about the potential use of depleted uranium in Ukraine and warns that it can “increase the risk of cancer, skin irritation, and kidney failure.”

It states that the chemical toxicity of depleted uranium is regarded as being more important than any potential radioactive effects. Residues may make local residents even more anxious.

Depleted uranium “not the cause” of Gulf War syndrome
Are weapons using depleted uranium legal?
The UK MoD maintains that the DU shells it is shipping to Ukraine are safe.

not forbidden by any international treaty.

It states that the depleted uranium shells produced by the UK are “capable of being used lawfully in international armed conflict” in accordance with Article 36 of the First Protocol of 1977 Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

According to President Vladimir Putin, “Russia will have to respond accordingly, given that the West is already beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component,” if the UK does ship depleted uranium shells to Ukraine.

The British Army has been using depleted uranium in its armor-piercing shells for decades, the MoD retorted in a statement. Russia is purposefully trying to misinform despite being aware of this.

Dr. Miron warns that using depleted uranium shells against Ukraine and its allies could have unintended consequences:

She claims that using them enables Russia to saber-rattle and threaten to deploy a nuclear weapon.

UK defends using depleted uranium rounds in the Ukraine conflict following a Putin warning

According to President Vladimir Putin, if the UK supplied depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, Russia would be “forced to react.”

He said that the West was using “nuclear component” weapons.

The UK Ministry of Defense confirmed it would give Kyiv Challenger 2 tanks and armor-piercing shells, but said there was little radiation risk.

According to the MoD, depleted uranium “is a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons”.

The statement continued, “The British Army has used depleted uranium in its armor-piercing shells for decades.”

“Russia is purposefully trying to misinform, despite knowing this. Depleted uranium ammunition use is likely to have little effects on both human health and the environment, according to independent study by scientists from organizations like the Royal Society.

Col. Hamish de Breton-Gordon, a former tank commander in the British Army and expert in chemical weapons, called Mr. Putin’s remarks “classic disinformation.”

He claimed that the depleted uranium rounds fired by Challenger 2 tanks only contained minute amounts of the radioactive material.

He continued by saying it was “laughable” to argue that depleted uranium ammunition was in any way related to nuclear weapons, which use enriched uranium.

After natural uranium has been enriched, either for use as reactor fuel or for the production of weapons, depleted uranium is what is left over.

In its solid state, it has a low radioactivity level. It is used to harden rounds so they can pierce armor and steel, but it is an extremely heavy substance that is 1.7 times denser than lead.

A weapon with a depleted uranium tip or core will pierce a solid object, such as the side of a tank, and then explode in a flaming cloud of gas.

The vapour condenses into dust, which is toxic and barely radioactive.

Sending DU ammo to Ukraine would indicate that the UK was “willing to break international humanitarian law as in 1999 in Yugoslavia,” according to Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia.

Without a doubt, this will have a negative outcome for London, said Mr. Lavrov.

A Pentagon spokeswoman announced on Tuesday night that no depleted uranium ammunition would be delivered to Ukraine.

Some people contend that the use of depleted uranium-containing shells in Iraq and the Balkans is responsible for birth abnormalities.

According to a UN ecosystem Programme (UNEP) report from 2022, depleted uranium poses a threat to the ecosystem in Ukraine.

“Depleted uranium and toxic substances in common explosives can cause skin irritation, kidney failure, and increase the risks of cancer,” it warned.

Depleted uranium’s chemical toxicity is regarded as a more important issue than any potential radioactive effects, it continued.

Generals allege that counterattacking soldiers had broken through Russia’s line in the Ukraine War.

As the counteroffensive that was initiated earlier this summer appears to be picking up steam, Ukrainian generals assert that they have penetrated Russia’s powerful first line of defenses in the south.

The geographical gains made by Kiev since June have been negligible, but is Ukraine finally at a turning point?

When asked if the breach had occurred, Yuriy Sak, an aide to Ukraine’s defense minister, replies, “Yes, it’s true.

I believe we’re gaining momentum, he added, bit by little.

One of Ukraine’s top generals in the south, Brig Gen Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, told Britain’s Observer newspaper, “We are now between the first and second defensive lines.”

He used language that was similar to that of White House spokesman John Kirby, who told reporters in Washington on Friday that Ukrainian forces had “achieved some success against that second line.”

The tiny village of Robotyne, located about 56 kilometers (35 miles) south-east of the city of Zaporizhzhia, has been the focal point of Ukraine’s counteroffensive attempt in recent weeks.

More than a week after raising the Ukrainian flag over the settlement, Ukrainian forces are attempting to expand the opening so that larger infantry and armored units may pass through without falling under Russian fire.

When Ukraine reaches the second and third defensive lines, which might not be as strong as the first, there is a chance that its offensive will gather momentum if that is successful.

Fighting has reportedly broken out on the outskirts of Verbove, a larger community east of Robotyne, but like everything else thus far, it is a slow, arduous process.

A quick glance at the map reveals an extensive network of intricately overlapping Russian defense lines, complete with minefields, tank traps, and trenches. At Verbove, several of them come together.

Small Ukrainian battalions have been clearing a path through these dangers without air cover and in the face of occasionally ferocious Russian artillery fire, laying the groundwork for a major assault.

Naturally, it makes it easier for our soldiers to advance when these openings occur, Mr. Sak remarked.

The wartime haze

It is challenging to evaluate the importance of the most recent accusations. When pressed for specifics, Ukrainian officials are incredibly coy, preferring to let the fog of war obscure Kyiv’s aims and being incredibly hesitant to refrain from disclosing vital information.

The fact that the forces closest to the conflict occasionally give quite different reports of what is taking place at the front does not help.

The 46th Air Assault Brigade of Ukraine told the Chatbeet on Saturday that although battle was still going on close to Russia’s first line of defense, “no one has yet managed to go beyond the first line.”

This might not be as shocking as it seems. There are numerous units moving up and down the front, each focusing on a distinct area and set of tasks. They might not always be aware of what is happening elsewhere.

A volunteer battalion from one of the groups, known by the call sign “Skala” of its leader, claimed the news agency Reuters that its fighters had breached Russia’s front line on August 26.

Skala informed us on Sunday that his soldiers were still making progress.

He stated in a voicemail, “Literally, we are moving along the Zaporizhzhia region to the sea,” without providing any other information.

I don’t want to move too quickly, but the General Staff and I are working hard to achieve victory as quickly as possible.

The Kremlin is clearly concerned, despite how difficult it is to determine the precise nature and direction of Ukraine’s recent victories.

To strengthen defenses between Robotyne and the important transportation center of Tokmak, 21 kilometers to the south, it has just dispatched elite troops from other sections of the lengthy front line.

This is the third time since June, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington.

The ISW stated in their assessment on September 1 that “the second lateral deployment in the space of a few weeks suggests an increasing Russian concern about the stability of Russian defenses.”

Ukrainian specialists assert that Kyiv is forcing Moscow to transfer front line units around in an effort to wear them out as part of its plan.

According to Serhiy Kuzan of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Centre, a research tank with strong ties to the military in Kyiv, “We’re attempting to involve their reserves and exhaust them.

He continues, “The next task is to take advantage of any Russian weakness.”

The most important thing, he believes, is to widen this bridgehead. “Until we do that, there won’t be any orders to go deeper.”

Although the offensive has appeared to go slowly since June, Mr. Kuzan claims that the main goal—control of the south—has not altered.

It’s unclear what it will look like when winter finally arrives.

In a perfect world, Kyiv’s forces would have broken through Moscow’s “land bridge” to the Crimean Peninsula and reached the Sea of Azov.

Even so, Ukraine is determined to cut the supply routes that allow Russian forces to keep a presence in the southern Kherson region, between the Dnipro river and Crimea, even if this does not materialize.

For Ukrainian long-range weapons like the Himars multiple rocket launcher, some of those links, including the railway that goes through Tokmak, are already quite weak.

Since the Kerch Bridge, the second important rail link, has been repeatedly attacked by Ukrainian forces since last October, according to Mr. Kuzan, Russia is reportedly moving 70% of its supplies along the M-14 motorway, which is located closer to the coast.

He states, “We have to get the land route… under fire control,” implying that the Ukrainians’ weapons must be near enough to the road to be able to target it.

That remains a far-off objective.

It’s still more than 80 kilometers to the M-14. There are numerous lines of defense for Russia, and Ukrainian soldiers will be assaulted from the air and on the ground at all times.

A second look at the map reveals that Ukraine has made very minor territorial gains since June.

One of the most difficult stages of the campaign was always going to be Kyiv’s initial contact with Russia’s well-established defenses. We might not know for some time whether the breach at Robotyne signals a tipping point.

Mr. Kuzan continues, “Hard battles are to be expected.”

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