The United States intends to provide Ukraine with depleted uranium tank shells, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The White House is also discussing the possibility of supplying Ukraine with cluster shells, discussions continue, according to the WSJ.
Previously, Britain had given such shells to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Earlier, Russia reacted harshly to London’s statement about transferring artillery shells with depleted uranium cores to Ukraine.
Such shells are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles.
Depleted uranium is formed during the production of enriched uranium in the nuclear power industry and is characterized by high density and strength, and because of these qualities it is used both in the production of armor for military equipment and ammunition – mainly cores for armor-piercing shells.
Depleted uranium is not highly radioactive, although it is considered toxic and carcinogenic.
The European Union website states that depleted uranium munitions were used in the wars in the Persian Gulf as well as in Serbia and Kosovo. Their use has raised concerns about health risks from exposure to dispersed uranium. But the EU website notes that several studies have found insufficient evidence that the substance is harmful, but experts’ conclusions are interpreted differently.
The website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that depleted uranium is dangerous if it penetrates the body.
A resolution on the use of depleted uranium adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018 said, citing IAEA studies, that “the radiological threat to the public and the environment posed by localized contamination of the area by small particles of depleted uranium released from the use of the munitions in question is not significant”.
“However, in cases where fragments or entire munitions containing depleted uranium are found, there is a potential danger of radiation exposure to people in direct contact with such fragments or munitions”, the resolution said.
Last December, the UN General Assembly adopted another resolution stating that studies conducted by relevant international organizations do not provide a sufficiently complete picture of the magnitude of possible long-term effects on humans and the environment caused by the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium.