On Wednesday, September 6, the Pentagon disclosed that the United States intends to furnish Ukraine with depleted uranium tank ammunition, as a component of a $175 million assistance package.
In a statement, the Pentagon said that the 120mm rounds will be for the US M1 Abrams, as it referred to the tanks that Washington has provided to provide to Kyiv. The uranium’s density, which is around 1.7 times that of lead, helps the ammunition punch through heavy armour.
However, it is controversial to provide depleted uranium as it has generally been associated with health hazards such as birth defects and cancer in past conflicts, although the munitions have never been definitively proven to be the cause of such health issues.
US diplomat Antony Blinken, during his visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, said that he will “maximise” efforts for supporting Ukraine, as its nation continued its counteroffensive against Russia. He further announced over $1 billion of new assistance to Ukraine in a package, which he stated would help Ukraine’s counteroffensive “build momentum”.
The comments were made hours after a dozen people were killed in a market in Eastern Ukraine due to a Russian artillery strike.
“President Biden asked me to come to reaffirm strongly our support, to ensure that we are maximising the efforts that we’re making,” Blinken said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We see the important progress that’s being made now in the counteroffensive and that’s very, very encouraging,” he added.
“Today, we’re announcing new assistance totalling more than one billion dollars… That includes $665.5 million in new military and civilian security assistance,” said Blinken, in a press conference with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
Zelensky, during his meeting with Blinken, thanked the US for extending its support to the war-ravaged country, especially ahead of winter. “We’re happy that we’re not alone through this winter, we will do it together with our partners,” he said to Blinken.
The White House condemned the fresh strikes by Russia on Ukraine on Wednesday after 17 people lost their lives in a strike on a market.
“These brutal Russian attacks underscore the importance of continuing to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their territory,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre in a daily briefing.
Meanwhile, Zelensky on Wednesday denounced the attack as “heinous” and repeatedly warned that Russia has been targeting civilian infrastructure.