Russia is “deliberately trying to disinform,” said the UK Ministry of Defense on Tuesday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned London against providing Ukraine with ammunition that contains depleted uranium.
On Monday, the UK confirmed that it will send ammunition containing depleted uranium to Ukraine, a development which Putin referenced at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Today it became known that Great Britain, through the mouth of the deputy head of the Ministry of Defense of this country, announced not only the supply of tanks to Ukraine, but also shells with combined uranium,” Putin said.
“I would like to note that if all this happens, Russia will have to react accordingly. I mean that the collective West is already starting to use weapons with a nuclear component,” he added.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, depleted uranium is used in ammunition designed to pierce armor plating because it becomes sharper on impact with a target.
It is “considerably less radioactive than natural uranium,” according to the agency.
In response to Putin’s remarks, a spokesperson for the MOD said that “the British Army has used depleted uranium in its armour piercing shells for decades.”
“It is a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities. Russia knows this, but is deliberately trying to disinform,” they said.
“Independent research by scientists from groups such as the Royal Society has assessed that any impact to personal health and the environment from the use of depleted uranium munitions is likely to be low,” the spokesperson added.