VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev on Friday condemned the British plan to provide depleted uranium rounds for Ukraine, warning that the use of such weapons would have dire consequences.
Ukraine needed to assess the consequences of the use of depleted uranium rounds and consider whether to open the "Pandora Box" and allow the West to provide such ammunition, Medvedev was quoted by TASS news agency as saying in an interview with Russian media.
Annabel Goldie, the British Minister of State for Defense, said on Tuesday that the "Challenger 2" main battle tanks sent by Britain to Ukraine would contain depleted uranium rounds, which were "very effective" in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles.
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, responded later Tuesday that the United Nations was concerned about the use of such ammunition. He said there would be serious consequences, applying to anyone who provides such armaments.
"I would like to note in this regard that if all this happens, then Russia will be forced to react accordingly. I mean that the collective West is already starting to use weapons with a nuclear component," Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by Sputnik news agency as saying Tuesday in Moscow.
Depleted uranium is the main by-product of uranium enrichment and is a chemically and radiologically toxic heavy metal, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
This dense metal is used in munitions for its penetrating ability and as a protective material in armored vehicles. Air, soil, water, and vegetation could potentially be contaminated and affected by its residues, according to the UN agency. ■