Russia today accused Britain of unleashing ‘genocide’ by supplying Ukraine with depleted uranium tank shells.
Moscow intensified its attack on London after Vladimir Putin said it “will have to respond appropriately as the collective West will use weapons with a nuclear component.”
Britain accused the Russians of “deliberately trying to misinform” about a “standard component that has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities.”
Depleted uranium ammunition, which Britain supplies Kiev with Challenger 2 main battle tanks, it can cause serious radiation damage if it enters the body and is linked to an increase in cancer and other diseases in war zones.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to the UK by stating: “The use of DU munitions is a manifestation of genocide of the population it is used against and the people who use it.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to the UK today
Moscow intensified its onslaught on London after Vladimir Putin said yesterday that it “will have to respond appropriately as the collective West will use weapons with a nuclear component.”
They would cause radioactive damage to “all people” living where shells are released from depleted uranium tanks, Zakharova said.
‘They get it, and it’s not a one-time problem…they’ll live with this forever.’
This was a “scientifically proven fact” based on its use in the former Yugoslavia, he claimed.
“This is another British provocation, which is aimed at bringing the situation around Ukraine to a new round of aggression, conflict and confrontation, to give it a qualitatively different dimension,” Zakharova said.
His boss, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, previously warned: “I am not surprised at all because (the British) have already lost their bearings in terms of actions that destroy strategic stability around the world.”
He added: ‘The Anglo-Saxons, who are dragging the rest into the collective West with them… want to maintain their hegemony with all their might.
‘If this is true, then they are willing not only to take risks, but also to violate international humanitarian law, as they did in 1999 in Yugoslavia and many other things… including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
They took over this organization called the International Criminal Court (and used it) to destroy every imaginable norm of international law.
“If it really happens, there is no doubt that it will end badly for them.”
Sergei Lavrov previously warned: “I am not surprised at all because (the British) have already become disoriented in terms of actions that destroy strategic stability around the world.”
Sergei Shoigu (pictured with Putin) warned yesterday that the world is only “steps” away from nuclear disaster.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Putin was framing the “supply of depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine as a significant escalation to bolster information operations aimed at deterring Western security assistance to Ukraine.”
The US-based think tank said Russia was seeking to “place the responsibility for the negotiations on the West.”
The ISW emphasized: “Such munitions cannot be used to produce nuclear or radiological weapons,” as the shells do not contain “any fissile or radiological material.”
Despite this, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) still condemned the British decision to supply Kiev with depleted uranium tank shells. The group said it provided “an additional environmental and health disaster for those who lived through the conflict” due to possible inhalation of radioactive dust after the shell hit.
“CND has repeatedly called on the UK government to place an immediate moratorium on the use of depleted uranium weapons and to fund long-term studies of their health and environmental impacts,” said the group’s secretary general, Kate Hudson.
Britain is supplying kyiv with Challenger 2 main battle tanks and depleted uranium shells. Pictured: Ukrainian recruits undergo tank training with the British Armed Forces in southern England in February.
Ukrainian servicemen from the Special Operations Forces drive a tank along the front line north of Bakhmut, March 16, 2023
It came after Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s chilling message yesterday warning the world is only “steps” away from a nuclear disaster, after fuming over the UK’s decision to send depleted uranium tanks.
“Another step has been taken, and fewer and fewer remain,” Shoigu said. When asked if this meant the world was closer to a nuclear collision, he replied: ‘It was not by chance that I told you about the steps. There are fewer.
Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened yesterday when he was furious over the UK’s decision to send machinery and ammunition to kyiv.
Russia “will be forced to react” if Britain goes ahead with the delivery of 14 next-generation battle tanks, Putin said after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday.
“The UK announced not only the supply of tanks to Ukraine, but also shells with depleted uranium,” the despot said.
“If this happens, Russia will be forced to respond accordingly, since the West, as a whole, is already starting to use weapons with a nuclear component. It seems that the West intends to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian,” he added.
What are depleted uranium tank shells?
Depleted uranium is used in ammunition such as tank shells, as it has the ability to penetrate thick layers of armor.
Because they contain radioactive material, the weaponry is denser, providing greater effectiveness in piercing heavy machinery than normal tank shells.
But as the UK said, it has little to do with weapons or nuclear capabilities; rather it is a byproduct of the nuclear enrichment process used to make nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. It is about 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium.
But depleted uranium can cause severe radiation damage if it enters the body. It is linked to an increase in cancer cases, increased rates of birth defects in war zones, and other diseases. If it enters the body, for example through shrapnel or dust inhalation, it can reach the lungs and vital organs.
Despite this, many countries have stockpiles of depleted uranium munitions, including Russia, the US and the UK.