The United States announced this Wednesday a new aid package for Ukraine valued at 175 million dollars and which for the first time includes ammunition with depleted uranium for tanks.
In the morning and in a surprise visit to kyiv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had announced an even larger package. The new North American aid package, of 1 billion dollarsincludes 665 million in military and civilian assistance, and will help Ukraine gain “momentum” in its counteroffensive, Blinken later explained at a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba.
In addition to this, the Pentagon indicated in parallel that it will supply Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition. Such ammunition, intended for tank use, is capable of piercing armored vehiclesbut it is controversial due to the risk of chemical toxicity it represents for the military and the civilian population.
In all, Washington has provided Ukraine with more than $40 billion in aid since the Russian invasion began.
The depleted uranium ammunition is intended for Abrams tanks, the Pentagon detailed in a statement that adds that there will also be material to support the Ukrainian air defense system and additional ammunition for HIMARS missile launchers.
The use of projectiles with depleted uranium, which They have a greater capacity to pierce armor, has long been a controversial topic due to its potential impacts on health and the environment.
The spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, noted in a press conference that with this Wednesday’s package Washington is “very focused” on helping Ukraine succeed in the counteroffensive against Russia.
Depleted uranium munitions, he added, are “heavier” than normal artillery and “very effective” against the armored.
“We want to ensure that the Ukrainians can be as effective as possible in this counteroffensive and we believe that depleted uranium ammunition will help them to be so,” Kirby stressed in that intervention.
The National Security Council spokesperson noted that “many armies use ammunition with depleted uranium, not just the United States”: “I would add that also Russia.”
“There is no big controversy here except what Russia is trying to create. (…) It is an effective munition on the battlefield and does not pose a radioactive threat to people,” Kirby said.
Already in March, after the United Kingdom admitted plans to supply kyiv with depleted uranium ammunition, Russia warned of the risk of radioactive contamination and it was warned that Moscow would be forced to react if Ukraine used this type of weaponry.
The Pentagon noted in its statement that the package announced this Wednesday is the 46th that the Joe Biden Administration has supplied to Ukraine from the Department of Defense inventories since August 2021.
“The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to meet its immediate needs on the battlefield and security in the longer term,” it was concluded from Washington.