The Biden administration is set to provide the Ukrainian army with depleted uranium tank rounds to equip the American tanks it is giving to the Ukrainians, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The decision to supply the depleted uranium tank rounds to equip American-supplied tanks for Ukrainian forces marks the latest escalation in the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine. The disclosure of the administration’s internal deliberations and expected decision to supply the depleted uranium tank rounds comes as the highly anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive is reportedly underway.
The decision to provide the depleted uranium rounds comes after weeks of debate within the administration regarding how to best equip the Abrams tanks the U.S. is supplying, according to the report. U.S. armed forces use depleted uranium rounds in their own tanks, according to the report. (RELATED: US Military Running Low On Ammo After Arming Ukraine)
There are no apparent significant obstacles impeding their delivery to Ukrainian forces, according to the report.
The rounds are thought to be highly effective against Russian armor and tanks, according to the report. “The projectile hits like a freight train,” Scott Boston, an analyst at the Rand Corporation and former U.S. Army artillery officer, told the WSJ. “It is very long and very dense. So it puts a great deal of kinetic energy on a specific point on an enemy armor array.”
🚨🇺🇸Breaking: US to finally approve depleted-uranium tank rounds for Ukraine.
Depleted uranium is nontoxic and is used in weapons because it can penetrate tanks and armor more easily due to its density and other physical properties. pic.twitter.com/A9W3DJOT2t
— Terror Alarm (@Terror_Alarm) June 13, 2023
The uranium component of the rounds’ shell is a byproduct of uranium enrichment, a key process in nuclear development, according to the report. However, the rounds do not actually generate a nuclear reaction themselves. Though the rounds do not generate a nuclear reaction, their detonation can cause kidney failure and increase the risks of cancer, according to a United Nations report cited in the WSJ report.
Officials within the Biden administration deliberated for weeks about whether to send the rounds to Ukraine to arm previously-promised Abrams tanks, according to the report. Officials opposed to supplying the rounds to Ukrainian forces argued that doing so could subject the White House to international criticism for proliferating materiel which causes additional environmental and health damage.
Similar debates have occurred within the administration over whether the administration should supply Ukraine with cluster munitions to assist its much-awaited counteroffensive, according to the report. International law prohibits the use of cluster munitions by many countries, including some U.S. allies, but neither the U.S. nor Russia are signatories or parties to the particular governing convention, according to the Convention on Cluster Munitions website.
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