LONDON, March 27. /TASS/. British instructors trained Ukrainian tank crews to use depleted uranium shells, the Declassified UK website specializing in investigative journalism reported Monday.
According to the website, on March 26, the UK Defense Ministry uploaded a video to its YouTube channel depicting training of Ukrainian crews in use of Challenger 2 tanks. Some shots of the video include depleted uranium shells. In addition, a military instructor from the US was also present at the training. This video fragment is captioned: "As driver training continues, instructors begin to familiarize Gunners, Loaders and Commanders with Challenger 2 ammunition types."
Speaking in an interview for the website, Doug Weir from the Conflict and Environment Observatory noted that the shells shown in the video are labeled "inert."
"The orange and black munition in the video appears to be an inert display version of the UK’s 120mm CHARM3 DU ammunition [a technical term for British-made depleted uranium shells - TASS]," he said. Weir underscored that use of such ammunition "poses an inhalational risk to people" because of the chemically toxic and radioactive microscopic depleted uranium particles generated when such shell hits a target.
Tanks and shells
On Monday, the British Defense Ministry announced that Ukrainian tank crews have completed their training with Challenger 2 tanks and returned to Ukraine. These crews are expected to be involved in the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the upcoming weeks.
On January 14, the UK became the first Western state to announce that it will hand over 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Kiev. On January 29, the Ministry announced that the first Ukrainian tank crews arrived to undergo their training. On February 8, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the tanks will be delivered to Ukraine in March.
On March 20, UK Minister of State for Defense Annabel Goldie said in a written statement that the British government will ship depleted uranium shells, which have improved armor penetration capabilities, to Ukraine. On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plans to ship depleted uranium shells prove that the West intends to "fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian not in word, but in deed now." The Russian leader noted that Russia will have to reciprocate.