A British official has confirmed that the UK will be providing Ukraine with depleted uranium shells to be used with the British-made Challenger 2 tanks despite warnings from Russia that it would consider the use of the toxic ammunition the same as a dirty bomb.
“Alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium. Such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles,” said Annabel Goldie, the British deputy defense minister, in a written response to a question posted on the British Parliament’s website.
Depleted uranium is typically created as a byproduct of producing enriched uranium and is extremely dense. Because depleted uranium munitions are radioactive, they are linked to cancer and birth defects, especially in Iraq, where US forces used an enormous number of the controversial munitions during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion. Birth defects are still common in the Iraqi city of Fallujah to this day, likely due to depleted uranium.