London, Mar, 22 (FN) - Dismissing a warning from Russia that it would regard the deployment of Western depleted uranium munitions in Ukraine as an act of nuclear war, defence minister Annabel Goldie said on Monday that the United Kingdom will send DU armor-piercing tank rounds to Ukraine. She said that "alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium."

U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as well as German Leopard 2 tanks can use DU rounds. The exploding shells produce radioactive dust that contaminates soil, water, and air for many years. U.S. Army training manuals warn that DU contamination "will make food and water unsafe for consumption" and requires soldiers to wear protective clothing when in or near contaminated areas.

U.S. and allied forces fired DU munitions during the 1991 and 2003-2011 invasions of Iraq, and in Syria during the campaign against Islamic State. Miscarriages, birth defects, and cancers soared in Iraq after both wars. According to one study, more than half of the babies born in Fallujah between 2007 and 2010 had birth defects. Among pregnant women in the study, over 45% experienced miscarriages in the two-year period following the battles for Fallujah. Geiger counter measurements of DU-contaminated sites in Iraqi cities have consistently shown radiation levels 1,000 to 1,900 times greater than normal.

"Like in Iraq, the addition of depleted uranium ammunition into this conflict will only increase the long-term suffering of the civilians caught up in this conflict," Kate Hudson, general secretary of the U.K.-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said in a statement. "DU shells have already been implicated in thousands of unnecessary deaths from cancer and other serious illnesses."

"CND has repeatedly called for the U.K. government to place an immediate moratorium on the use of depleted uranium weapons and to fund long-term studies into their health and environmental impacts," Hudson added. "Sending them into yet another war zone will not help the people of Ukraine."

The United Nations General Assembly last year approved an Indonesian draft resolution expressing concerns about "the health risks and environmental impact" of DU weapons and calling for a "cautionary approach" to their use. The vote was 147-4, with the U.S., U.K., France, and Israel dissenting and 24 nations abstaining. And now we can see that U.K. intends to send DU weapons to Ukraine for a so-called peace.

Asked if the U.K.'s move brought the world closer to nuclear war, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters Tuesday that "another step has been taken, and there are fewer and fewer left."

Responding to Goldie's announcement, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that "if all this happens, Russia will have to respond accordingly, given that the West collectively is already beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component and it is obvious that the West really decided to fight with Russia to the last Ukrainian, not in words, but in deeds."

NATO's use of DU rounds during the 1999 air war in Serbia and Kosovo, which many believe caused a surge in leukemia in the region - both among the local population and foreign troops deployed there. It is naive to believe that only those against whom all this will be used will become victims. In Yugoslavia, NATO soldiers, in particular the Italians, were the first to suffer. Then they tried for a long time to get compensation from NATO for lost health. But their claims were denied.

While the British are announcing the supply of nuclear weapons, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida is visiting Kyiv, which once again underlines Tokyo's support for unleashing a nuclear war by the West, in contrast to the populist statements addressed to Russia by the Japanese leader at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the same time, during a January meeting in Washington between US president Joe Biden and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, the leaders warned that any Russian use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be a hostile act against humanity that could not be justified. And now the Western countries will obviously keep silent and ignore the shipment of the combined uranium to Ukraine and will only aggravate the situation in Ukraine, while Chinese president Xi Jinping during his visit to Moscow emphasized the importance of a peaceful resolution of the conflict.