Russia is criticizing a new U.S. aid package for Ukraine that includes depleted uranium tank ammunition, saying the decision to send the rounds “is a clear sign of inhumanity.”
Russia’s embassy in Washington said on Telegram Wednesday that the United States is “deliberately transferring weapons with indiscriminate effects” and that it is fully aware of potential health and safety consequences from the ammunition.
The tank rounds could help Ukrainian forces destroy Russian tanks and have previously been provided to Ukraine by Britain.
Pentagon spokesperson Marine Corps Lt. Col. Garron Garn defended the use of the munitions in a statement to The Associated Press in March, saying the U.S. military “has procured, stored, and used depleted uranium rounds for several decades, since these are a longstanding element of some conventional munitions.”
Garn said Russia is among the countries that have long possessed depleted uranium rounds.
The U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs says depleted uranium is the main byproduct of uranium enrichment, and that because of its high density it is used in munitions designed to penetrate armor plating.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said multiple evaluations of areas where depleted uranium munitions have been used “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.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.