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Depleted uranium munitions for Ukraine clearly show Washington needs more wisdom: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2023-09-03 18:18
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Among the latest $250-million package of military assistance to Ukraine the US State Department unveiled last week, the depleted uranium munitions that appear on the delivery note for the first time deserve full vigilance.

Not only because of their armor-piercing capacity to destroy heavy tanks but also how Russia might act in response.

Also the possible long-term environmental implications should not be ignored. Depleted uranium is a by-product from the production of fuel used in atomic power stations. Although the radiation levels are significantly reduced and it is employed for its physical, rather than nuclear, properties, if large amounts of the munitions are used in a short time, the radioactive effects they produce cannot be ignored, as many cases show. That's why both sides have been very cautious on the use of them.

It is the US camp that is breaking that tacit understanding at the cost of turning the Ukraine crisis from bad to worse.

Ukraine received the first batch of uranium munitions from the United Kingdom in March to use in its UK-made Challenger 2 tanks. The risky game-changing move was answered immediately by Moscow vowing to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

The US' latest military assistance to Ukraine makes it crystal-clear to all that Washington not only wants to drag on the conflict but also further escalate it.

While the Ukraine crisis is causing tremendous losses for the two countries and beyond, Washington thinks it is one of the best "investments" the US has made to defend its hegemony in history. Spending only 2.5 percent of US defense spending since the conflict broke out in February last year, the US has hit at least three birds with one stone. Compared with one and a half years ago, with such limited input, it has markedly weakened Russia, effectively tightened its grip on Europe, and perceptibly exploited the situation to advance its China containment strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

The "Ukraine investment" has served to reinforce the US' leadership of the West. Not to mention the fact that a significant part of that "investment" represents funds absorbed by the military industry in the US and its allies leaving the amount going directly to Ukraine relatively minor. The longer the crisis is sustained in the direction it desires, the more the US stands to profit from it.

The US and its allies should be reminded that if Russia acts reciprocally, which is almost a certainty, the situation will take a critical turn for the worse.

Thanks to the tremendous mediatory efforts made by China and some other third-party countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, over the past few months, the conflict so far has not changed its track to a nuclear one. More countries need to join them in promoting an end to the conflict sooner rather than later.

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