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Provision of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine is met with hysteria and threats from Russia

Tuesday, 21 March 2023, 17:39

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will be forced to "react" if Ukraine uses depleted uranium shells, which the UK has pledged to supply.

Source: Putin said this at a joint press conference following talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday 21 March, reports European Pravda 

Quote: "Today it was announced that the UK, according to its Deputy Defence Secretary, will not only supply tanks to Ukraine, but also shells with depleted uranium," the Russian president said.

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"It seems that the West has actually decided to fight with Russia to the last Ukrainian, not in words, but in deeds, but I would like to note in this regard that if all this happens, then Russia will have to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West is beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component," he added.

In turn, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, commenting on the UK's supply of depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine, said that "another step [towards escalation] has been taken, and there are fewer and fewer of them".

Depleted uranium is waste from the uranium enrichment process, which consists of isolating the uranium-235 isotope from natural uranium. Due to its high density, depleted uranium is also used in armour for military equipment [particularly M1 Abrams tanks - ed.] and armour-piercing shells.

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NATO countries are known to have used shells that contained depleted uranium during the operation in Kosovo, which is why they were accused of increasing the incidence of leukaemia.

However, experts say such shells existed in the Soviet Union, and Russian troops have already used them in Ukraine during the full-scale war. In addition, there is no reason to say that depleted uranium has anything to do with nuclear weapons, as Putin has claimed.

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