Home/ News / World/  Use of depleted uranium shells in Ukraine would harm population for decades, says Russia

The Russian defense ministry expressed concern on Friday regarding the potential use of depleted uranium shells in Ukraine, warning that this could lead to significant harm to Ukrainian troops, the general public, and the agriculture sector for decades or even centuries. 

This reaction came after Britain announced its plans earlier in the week to send these shells to Ukraine. Despite London's assertion that these shells are conventional ammunition, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed anger over the situation, accusing NATO members of providing Kyiv with weapons containing a "nuclear component."

"The West is well aware of the negative consequences of using depleted uranium ammunition," Igor Kirillov, head of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Forces of Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on Friday.

He further stated that the utilization of depleted uranium by the United States and its allies in the Balkans and Iraq has had significant and long-lasting harmful effects on the local inhabitants and environment. 

Ukraine's agricultural industry could suffer "for decades, if not centuries, into the future," he said.

Critics of the use of depleted uranium, such as the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, said the dust created by such weapons can be breathed in while munitions which miss their target can poison groundwater and soil.

The Russian defense ministry rejected the argument on Friday that depleted uranium shells have any tactical benefit in comparison to Tungsten-based ammunition.

Meanwhile, a 2002 report by the Royal Society suggests that the risk of depleted uranium munitions to the kidneys and other organs of most soldiers and people living in conflict areas is minimal. 

Furthermore, as per the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, around 20 countries including Russia are known to manufacture uranium weapons.




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Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 05:53 PM IST
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