Ukraine could soon receive armor-piercing ammunition from the U.S. capable of destroying heavy Russian tanks under the terms of a new multimillion-dollar aid package expected to be unveiled by Washington in the coming days.
Depleted uranium munitions could be included in the next tranche of military assistance, according to a /" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reuters reports citing a draft document and two American officials.
The ammunition rounds, which use the highly dense metal to help penetrate thick armor-plating, are designed to be fired from the U.S. Abrams tanks that Ukraine is expected to receive in the same package.
While depleted uranium is a byproduct from the production of fuel used in atomic power stations, its radiation levels are significantly reduced and it is employed for its physical, rather than nuclear, properties. Ukraine in March received depleted uranium munitions from the U.K. to use in its British-made Challenger 2 tanks.
However, the U.K. decision sparked a row after Russia — which without foundation claims the shells contain a “nuclear component” — used it as a pretext to announce Moscow would station tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its ally, neighboring Belarus. Russia’s armed forces have consistently used ammunition of the same type themselves.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Washington believes Ukraine’s counteroffensive is picking up pace. According to Kirby, officials have “noted over the last 72 hours or so some notable progress by Ukrainian armed forces,” particularly along the southern front in the region around Zaporizhzhia.