Along with more than $1 billion (£800 million) in military and humanitarian assistance, the United States has announced that it will deliver controversial weapons to Ukraine.
The United States’ decision to upgrade Abrams tanks with ammunition powerful enough to penetrate conventional tank armor was met with considerable criticism from Russia.
They are constructed out of depleted uranium, which is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process and has had the majority of its radioactive material removed.
Overnight, what are believed to be attacks by drones operated by the Ukrainian military were reported in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and in the vicinity of Moscow.
An explosion was reportedly responsible for a minor injury to one person and the damage of many vehicles in the city center of Rostov, as shown in an unverified video. Governor Vasily Golubev stated that the incident occurred.
The Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, stated that a drone that was aimed at the town of Ramenskoye had also been shot down, and there were no reports of any damage.
What exactly are shells made of depleted uranium, and are they dangerous to use?
What kinds of weapons are being delivered to the Ukraine?
The top US ambassador Antony Blinken made the announcement of a new security package for Ukraine when he was in Kyiv. This statement prompted a furious response from the Russian government.
The 120mm uranium tank rounds are for the M1 Abrams tanks that are scheduled to be sent to Ukraine later this year as part of the $175 million in military materiel that the United States is sending to Ukraine.
Depleted uranium is used in the manufacturing of the rounds; it is a byproduct of the process of refining naturally occurring uranium for the purpose of producing nuclear fuel or weapons. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is incapable of producing a nuclear reaction and is regarded as being “considerably less radioactive than natural uranium.”
It is possible to employ depleted uranium to augment the armour-plating of tanks; however, this material is more commonly used for weaponry due to its extremely high density and its ability to penetrate conventional tank armour.
Shells of this sort sharpen upon impact, which further boosts their capacity to bore through armor; also, they ignite upon touch.
When the United Kingdom (UK) stated in March that it would be delivering depleted uranium shells to Ukraine for its Challenger 2 tanks, Russia’s response was one of anger.
When President Vladimir Putin alleged that the weapons had a “nuclear component,” the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense responded by saying that they had employed depleted uranium in their armour-piercing rounds for decades and accused Moscow of intentionally disseminating falsehoods.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has determined that exposure to depleted uranium does not cause significant poisoning. However, another United Nations body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has stated that there may be a risk of radiation exposure for individuals who handle fragments of depleted uranium rounds.
The United States has decided to reverse its position from March, when it stated that it would not provide Ukraine with any weapons containing depleted uranium.
According to a statement made by a Department of Defense official to the news website Politico, the United States has made the decision to deploy the weapons because it is believed that they are the best approach to arm Abrams tanks in Ukraine.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, has referred to them as “a common type of munition.”
In addition, the United States will give Himars missiles more ammunition, anti-armour systems, and tactical air navigation systems.
“This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum,” said Mr. Blinken.
The Ukrainian military’s so-called counter-offensive was a failure, according to the Russian Embassy in Washington, which condemned the choice as “an indicator of inhumanity” and said that the United States was “deluding itself” by refusing to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
Since June, Ukraine’s territorial gains in the counter-offensive have been quite limited; but, Ukrainian generals assert that they have broken through Russia’s powerful first line of defenses in the south.
An assault that took place on Wednesday in the city of Kostyantynivka, which is located in the Donetsk area of eastern Ukraine, resulted in the deaths of 16 individuals, one of whom was a child.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has pointed the finger of blame at Moscow for the attack, but Russia has not yet responded.