ICBUW Statement on the U.S. Deliveries of Depleted Uranium Weapons to Ukraine

9. September 2023 Allgemein, Blog posts, Statements

US decision to send DU ammunition to Ukraine – self-destructive and deceptive

The use of DU (depleted uranium) ammunition is associated with long-lasting damaging effects on human health and the environment. It is a barbaric weaponry that – in its consequences – makes no difference between combatants and civilians. Using DU ammunition can be regarded illegal under existing international law, at least according to the precautionary principle. Victims have human rights to compensation, be they in Iraq or in Southern Serbia where they still wait for necessary help – after suffering from U.S.-DU strikes.

ICBUW was happy to notice a certain tendency of replacing DU weapons against the background of diminishing reputation and due to civil society criticism. This was especially evident in the case of the United States with documented searches for alternative, less toxic anti-tank weaponry while in the United Kingdom modernization of DU weapons was stopped. These trends have reversed with the decisions of both countries to send DU munitions to Ukraine. But the situation has not changed, and the inhumane nature of DU weapons remains the same. Their use is prohibited, and they are morally unacceptable. This counts both for the aggressor and the country acting in self-defense.

Like in the case of cluster munitions: the delivery of DU munitions is counter-productive and careless. It adds to the war-related environmental burden of Ukraine, damaging its legal integrity as victim of aggression and illegal attacks. If the West proclaims a role of defending international law and human values everything should be done to avoid moral and political drawbacks in this regard. States should better support, for instance, the UN General Assembly process of delegitimizing uranium weapons. This, in particular, is valid for the U.S. with its long and painful DU history…