The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke about the advances of Ukrainian troops against Russian forces, recognizing that they are being “intense and difficult” combats. This Thursday, September 7, Moscow ruled on the United States’ decision to send weapons with depleted uranium to Ukraine, calling it a “criminal act.”
Ukraine is “gradually gaining ground”, is how NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the advance of Ukrainian troops on Russian positions. But, the leader of the Alliance acknowledged that they expected “more speed” in the response of the Kiev forces, which have been slowed down by the barriers, mines and air strikes from Moscow.
“The Ukrainians decided to launch the offensive because they are going to liberate the country and they are making progress. Maybe not as much as we expected, but they are gaining about 100 meters a day,” explained Stoltenberg during the joint session of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Security and Defense Subcommittee of the European Parliament, acknowledging that the fighting is being “intense and difficult.” .
Statements in line with those made on Wednesday by the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, who arrived in Kiev on a surprise visit to supervise the progress of Ukrainian troops in their counteroffensive – a movement that has already entered its fourth month – and announce Washington’s new war aid package.
“Ukrainians are coming together to get rid of munitions, get rid of mines, and literally take back the land,” Blinken said Thursday, noting that a third of Ukrainian territory is mined or covered in unexploded Russian munitions.
Ukrainians “have high resilience,” praised the US official during his visit to the Chernigiv region, occupied by Moscow at the beginning of the conflict, in February 2022.
The Ukrainians are now moving forward and retaking land, and we must continue to support them for as long as it takes. pic.twitter.com/RZnqjNo0fj
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) September 7, 2023
For its part, in recent days, Volodymyr Zelensky’s Executive claimed to have crossed the first line of defense of the Russian forces in their insistent offensive in southern Ukraine, recognizing that progress is being slower than expected and that their Soldiers are paying a “high price.”
Both the senior US official and the president of the Alliance reaffirmed their support for kyiv in recent days: “We support them when they win and if they lose, we are there with Ukraine. Because supporting Ukraine is not an option, it is a necessity to ensure that we preserve peace for our members and for our countries,” Stoltenberg said, adding that it is a fight against “authoritarian regimes,” referring to the Kremlin.
Remains of Russian drone in Romanian territory do not come from a “deliberate attack”
This Thursday, NATO also indicated that it has no indication that the remains of a drone, found in Romanian territory, “have been caused by a deliberate attack by Russia against Romania.” A statement that comes after Ukraine said, last Monday, that the drone detonated on Romanian soil after a Russian air attack against a Ukrainian port near the Danube River.
“We are awaiting ongoing investigations,” Secretary Stoltenberg said, adding that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “demonstrates the risks and accidents” on NATO’s borders, commenting that the Alliance will increase surveillance and military presence in the area. eastern flank.
On Wednesday, Romania’s defense minister said drone parts had been found on its territory, but that they did not pose a threat. “If it is confirmed that these elements come from a Russian drone, such a situation would be completely inadmissible and a serious violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Romania, a NATO allied state,” declared Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the time.
“Criminal act”: Russia rejects the supply of ammunition with depleted uranium to Ukraine
For its part, the Kremlin reacted to the recent US announcement that it would supply depleted uranium weapons for Abrams tanks as part of the latest $175 million aid package for Kiev. “This is a criminal act,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
“This is not just an escalatory step, but is a reflection of Washington’s scandalous disregard for the environmental consequences of using this type of ammunition in a combat zone,” criticized the Kremlin member.
The controversial shipment of these munitions is part of the new US aid package in its fight against Russian troops and is the first time that the United States will make this type of deliveries to kyiv.
Depleted uranium is a dense byproduct left over when uranium is enriched for use in nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons. Although it is still radioactive, its charge is much lower than natural uranium.
“When depleted uranium penetrates the target vehicle, larger fragments tend to chew up whatever is inside, while the pyrophoricity of uranium increases the likelihood that the vehicle’s fuel and/or ammunition will explode,” he explains. the Museum of Radiation and Radioactivity at the Associated Universities of Oak Ridge, USA.
These types of weapons are not classified as nuclear weapons. The United Kingdom, Russia, China and Pakistan, in addition to the United States, are producers and about 14 countries store them. However, the effects of this type of explosion generate controversy due to its environmental impact and the serious effects on people’s health, such as different types of cancer.
Moscow reaffirmed that this is “bad news”, in the words of the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, due to the consequences for the population “of the territory in which it will be used”. While the White House defended itself by pointing out that “many armies use ammunition with depleted uranium, not just the United States.”
With Reuters, AP and local media
Source: France 24