Global Times
march 22, 2023

UK to set ‘bad precedent’ if depleted uranium ammunition provided to Ukraine
By Chen Qingqing

Edited by RR

If the UK sends controversial shells containing depleted uranium to Ukraine, it will set a dangerous precedent for the conflict, which could also mean an escalation in weapon supplies, Chinese experts said, warning of long-term harmful effects on the environment and people’s health. This move shows that the West does not care about either Ukrainians or Russians as they use “the blood of Ukrainians to weaken Russia by all means,” experts said.


In history, NATO, led by the US, has used depleted uranium bombs many times, which caused not only long-term impact on the environment but also long-term harm to the human body, and the uranium powder released by it caused serious pollution to the environment, Chinese experts said.

A resolution adopted by the UN in December 2022 takes into account the potential harmful effects of the use of armaments and ammunition containing depleted uranium on human health and the environment, and noted that further research should be done to assess the health risks and environmental impact of the use of arms and ammunition containing depleted uranium in conflict situations.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying in media reports that the British decision left fewer and fewer steps before a potential “nuclear collision” between Russia and the West. He also mentioned that NATO had already used such munitions in Kosovo and Serbia, where they massively, without authorization, bombarded peaceful cities and destroyed bridges.

The UK’s move set a very bad precedent as depleted uranium bombs have been resisted by many countries given their harm not only to soldiers but also to nearby civilians, making post-war reconstruction much more difficult, Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“It also means Western supplies to Ukraine being further escalated,” he said, noting that Russia will surely react resolutely to such escalation.

On the 23rd anniversary of the end of NATO’s 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in June 2022, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the US and NATO to reflect on their war crimes and give a reasonable explanation and compensation to the victims of depleted uranium bombs. Some 3,000 victims of depleted uranium bombs gathered an international team of lawyers to file a lawsuit against NATO for the disastrous impact of 15-ton depleted uranium bombs dropped by NATO.

“The impact of the depleted uranium bombs is long-term not only for Russian and Ukrainian soldiers but also for local residents. Countries like Iraq and Serbia are still under the impact of such bombs used by the US-led West,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Increasing weapons supplies to Ukraine is seen as adding fuel to the fire that will only exacerbate tensions. On the Ukraine crisis, China emphasized on multiple occasions that nuclear weapons cannot be used and nuclear wars cannot be fought, and all parties should jointly oppose the use or threat to use nuclear weapons, preventing nuclear proliferation and avoiding a nuclear crisis.

Providing depleted uranium bombs also means that the UK violates the non-proliferation principle….As a major nuclear power, we might collectively oppose such a move as permanent members of the UN Security Council, Cui noted.

“The UK clearly understands the harmful impact of depleted uranium bombs, which also shows that the country does not care how harmful they would be to either Ukrainians or Russians, as they just want to use the blood of Ukrainians to weaken Russia by all means,” the expert said.

Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. May 7, 1999.

Global Times
March 23, 2023

The UK should be strongly condemned for this ‘dirty’ act: Global Times editorial

Minister of State for Defence confirmed on March 21 that some of the ammunition for the Challenger 2 battle tanks that the UK is sending to Ukraine includes armour-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium….This is a matter of great significance. It needs to be pointed out that it is definitely not just a problem that Russia needs to deal with, or simply means an increased risk of escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Depleted uranium, commonly known as “dirty bombs,” is aptly named, as the word “dirty” carries a profound connotation. When we hear this term, we immediately think of the US and NATO, as it is a permanent stain on their record. Although depleted uranium is not classified as a nuclear weapon, it isn’t an ordinary conventional weapon either. It is because the uranium-238 it contains has chemical and radioactive substance. During the Gulf War and the Iraq War, the US military used a large amount of depleted uranium in Iraq. In 1999, NATO dropped 15 tons of depleted uranium against Yugoslavia during the bombing campaign.

The impact of this depleted uranium continues to cause harm even today, with numerous examples serving as concrete evidence of its enormous harm to human health and long-term destruction to the environment. After two wars, the rates of miscarriage, congenital defects, leukemia and cancer skyrocketed in Iraq, and the incidence of cancer in Serbia also rose significantly. Even many US and NATO soldiers who participated in the war have suffered from related illnesses. From a humanitarian perspective, the use of depleted uranium is a highly immoral act.

Such an immoral act the UK is now going perpetrate and does so like it’s a matter of course. It seems that when it comes to their own interests, international rules and morality are tools and weapons used to make demands on and attack others, rather than rules to constrain themselves….

Some peace groups have been campaigning to ban depleted uranium. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly approved an Indonesian draft resolution expressing concerns about the “health risks and environmental impact” of depleted uranium and called for a “cautious approach” to their use. The vote was 147 in favor to 5 against, with the US, UK, France, Israel and Liberia opposing and 23 countries abstaining. Although an absolute minority, the US and UK, among others, have hindered a substantive ban and restrictions on the use of depleted uranium under international law, exposing flaws in the current international order.

To give a simple analogy, the current Russia-Ukraine conflict is a bit like two people who have been instigated by outsiders and become so angry that they’ll accept any weapon that’s handed to them without considering the consequences. At such a time, whether a third party fans the flames by adding fuel or tries to mediate and persuade them to seek peace will lead to completely different results. The fact that Britain provides “dirty bombs” at this time is an act very malicious in nature.

In fact, Ukraine, which experienced the Chernobyl nuclear power plant leakage accident, should be wary of depleted uranium. Ukraine is one of the world’s most important grain and oilseed producing and exporting countries, planting including corn, wheat, barley and sunflower seed oil and so on. The potential hazards and pollution to environment caused by depleted uranium cannot be ignored. In addition, precautions should also be taken to prevent the “broken window effect” and “domino effect” caused by depleted uranium, which will lower the bottom line of the world.

We call on the UN to formally discuss this issue and express clear opposition to and condemnation of the UK. In response to a question from a Chinese journalist, the Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General stated that the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs has expressed concern about any use of depleted uranium anywhere. For countries like the UK or the US, expressing “concern” is clearly not enough. The international community needs to increase its moral condemnation of such behavior, which is not a matter of geopolitics but of basic humanity and morality.