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WSJ: US to provide depleted-uranium tank shells for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 13, 2023 4:11 PM 2 min read
M1A1 Abrams main battle tank fires during Exercise Chong Ju at the Puckapunyal Military Area in Seymour, Australia, on May 09, 2019. (Scott Barbour)
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The U.S. is set to provide depleted-uranium tank shells after weeks of discussion, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote on June 13, citing U.S. officials.

The Pentagon has reportedly long urged sending the depleted-uranium ammunition to Ukraine along with the scheduled 31 M1 Abrams tanks.

In the past, several White House officials raised concerns that the U.S. may become open to criticism for sending shells that may carry environmental and health risks, the WSJ wrote.

According to the Journal, there is an ongoing discussion on whether depleted uranium causes negative long-term effects on human health, but nothing has been conclusively proven so far.

Depleted uranium is a by-product of uranium enrichment. It is roughly two and a half times denser than steel, which makes it particularly effective for piercing heavy armor on the battlefield.

What will it take for Ukraine to maintain and operate the M1 Abrams?
The Ukrainian military has passed another milestone by starting to master the M1 Abrams, the top-notch main battle tank to be provided by the U.S. According to the Pentagon, some 400 Ukrainians are training for the job at U.S. Army bases in Germany. After many months of deliberations

The U.K. has reportedly already sent tens of thousands of depleted-uranium shells to Ukraine along with its Challenger 2 tanks.

Russia's embassy in London responded by claiming that the U.K. "will not be able to evade responsibility for the consequences of the use of depleted uranium shells transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Russian state-controlled news outlet TASS reported on Telegram.

The U.K. Defense Ministry responded that depleted uranium is a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities.

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