Russia slams US decision to provide Ukraine with depleted uranium shells as 'criminal act'

Russian minister reacted to Pentagon’s announcement of $175M in military aid to Kyiv, saying US disregard for negative environmental effects of using uranium shells in combat zone.

Yayınlanma: 08.09.2023 - 11:24
Russia slams US decision to provide Ukraine with depleted uranium shells as 'criminal act'
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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Thursday slammed the US decision to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium shells, calling it a "criminal act leading to the escalation of war."

"The comment is simple… this is not just an escalating step, but it reflects Washington's outrageous disregard for the environmental consequences of using this kind of ammunition in a combat zone. This is, in fact, a criminal act… I cannot give another assessment," the diplomat said at the regional seminar titled “Strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime” in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which was livestreamed on the Foreign Ministry's official website.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced another $175 million package of military assistance to Kyiv. For the first time, the US included depleted uranium shells for Abrams tanks.

According to Ryabkov, the US "doesn’t care" about the consequences of the use of nuclear ammunition as it will be used on territories of other countries.

"It is clear that they do not care who will inhale it there, where it will settle, and what consequences it will have for those who are fighting right now, or what will happen to the generations who will live on this earth," he noted.

Meanwhile, the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus is proceeding in accordance with the plan, the diplomat said.

The official refused to elaborate on the topic, saying, "If the management deems it possible and desirable to provide details of what is happening, this will be done."

Ryabkov warned that the pressure exerted by Western countries on Russia is "dangerously teetering on the verge of a direct armed conflict between the nuclear powers."

NATO is relying on “non-stop malicious expansion and aggressive military and geopolitical development of territories directly in the zone of vital interests of Russia at a time when the conflict in Ukraine is far from being resolved," he said, emphasizing the "most serious risks of further escalation."

The accumulated conflict potential between the nuclear powers, according to the diplomat, could also spread to the Asia-Pacific region and escalate into an open military confrontation there.

Commenting on the idea of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe, he said it is a long way off.

On the contrary, NATO may rebuild infrastructure for thermonuclear bomb B61 in the UK, he said, describing it as "proof of NATO's escalation course."

When asked about Armenia's decision to hold joint military exercises with the US on its territory, Ryabkov said Moscow bases its decision on the fact that members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) should adhere to the practice of exercises with their allies.

"Of course, we noticed that (announcement). And we have drawn the most serious attention of our Armenian allies, allies in Armenia, to the fact that we perceive this with an element of concern," the diplomat stressed.

On Wednesday, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced that the country will host Eagle Partner 2023, a joint military exercise with the US, from Sept. 11 to 20.

Ryabkov also condemned Ukraine's drone attacks on nuclear objects, saying such actions "reflect Kyiv's irresponsible approach to security issues."

"We urge the Western backers of the Kyiv regime to pay close attention to this issue, and we also urge the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) leadership to take what is happening seriously," he added.

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