The Pentagon has confirmed that a shipment of US-made uranium shells is expected to arrive in Ukraine this autumn. The delivery is part of an assistance package worth up to $175 million, which also includes the first delivery of M1 Abrams tanks.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, speaking at a briefing, stated that the exact date of the uranium shells’ arrival would be announced by Kiev. She emphasized that the United States wants the rounds to be in Ukraine by the time the Abrams tanks are delivered, which is expected to be in the fall. Singh also noted that the US government has publicly stated that it does not consider depleted uranium munitions to pose a public health risk.
Singh referenced reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to support her claim. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that depleted uranium rounds cause cancer, and the WHO has found no increase in leukemia or other cancers following exposure to uranium or depleted uranium.
However, Singh did not address a 2022 UN Environment Program report that warned about the health risks associated with depleted uranium and toxic substances in common explosives. The report highlighted potential dangers such as skin irritation, kidney failure, and an increased risk of cancer. Another study published in the journal Environmental Pollution in 2019 suggested a link between depleted uranium and the risk of birth defects in children exposed to it during the Iraq War.
The US is not the first country to announce the delivery of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine. The UK approved such supplies in March, causing outrage in Moscow. In response to the US announcement, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the delivery as a criminal act, accusing the US of disregarding the health of current and future Ukrainian generations.
It is important to note that depleted uranium shells are known for their high armor-piercing capabilities. The US considers them to be the most effective rounds to counter Russian tanks.
The delivery of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine has attracted attention and criticism due to concerns about their potential health and environmental impact. While the United States maintains that they do not pose a public health risk, the issue remains controversial, with conflicting studies and reports. The arrival of the uranium shells in Ukraine will likely continue to draw scrutiny and debate as the situation unfolds.