Based on international law, it was wrong for Russia to invade Ukraine, despite the latter’s reputation for harboring Nazis and Nazi sentiment. Ukraine wasn’t threatening Russia, and besides, Russian forces annexed (illegally) the Crimea region from Ukraine in 2014, so clearly Moscow is the aggressor here.
But having said that, NATO countries appear to be sleepwalking into a much broader, far deadlier (and perhaps planet-ending) conflict with Russia, a significant power with thousands of nuclear warheads at its disposal.
According to Breitbart News on Tuesday, the European Union has agreed to send one million artillery shells to Ukraine at a significant cost of two billion Euros, while the United Kingdom has confirmed that it will be donating main battle tanks to the country and will also provide depleted uranium anti-tank rounds.
After lengthy negotiations, the European Defence Agency has finally agreed on a much-anticipated arms procurement deal between EU member states and Norway. This deal will involve the acquisition and delivery of one million 155mm artillery rounds to Ukraine, the report said, even as Russia appears to have a limitless supply, according to frontline Ukrainian troops.
The cost of the arms procurement deal for the one million 155mm artillery rounds to Ukraine is €2 billion ($2.15 billion), which will be divided into two tranches. The first tranche, worth one billion euros, will be utilized to compensate EU member states for releasing shells from their own military reserves, with the objective of delivering them within two months. The second tranche of funding will be paid to armaments factories in European nations to manufacture new shells for shipment to Ukraine, the report noted further.
Russia Threatens Canada With ‘Most Serious Consequences’ After Trudeau Govt’s ‘Regime Change’ Commentshttps://t.co/SvPWUkclQ3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 21, 2023
The EU aims to deliver the artillery rounds to Ukraine within a 12-month timeframe. However, there are concerns about the ability of Europe’s armaments factories to ramp up production quickly enough to meet this deadline. While extra shells could have been purchased from non-EU countries, France has pushed for a buy-European policy to safeguard the interests of the European industry, Breitbart News noted further.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, hailed the arms procurement deal as a “historic” moment. He further stated that this deal represents the EU’s support for Ukraine.
But the announcement of the EU’s substantial arms procurement deal was somewhat overshadowed by the United Kingdom’s revelation that depleted uranium anti-tank rounds would accompany their gift of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. These rounds are highly effective due to the unique properties of depleted uranium upon impact, making it an exceptional metal for tank-busting purposes — and that has drawn the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose troops would be on the losing end of those rounds.
“Alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium. Such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles,” a UK government spokesman said, as reported by Breitbart News.
The statement drew a swift and angry response from Russia. Following a meeting with China’s Xi Jinping in Moscow, Putin threatened retaliation, stating: “If all this happens, Russian will have to respond accordingly, I’m talking about the fact the west is already beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component.”
The UK, in turn, criticized Russia for conflating depleted uranium rounds with the term “nuclear component,” as this could give the false impression that NATO is providing nuclear weapons to Ukraine. The use of depleted uranium rounds in combat has been primarily by the US and UK, and both countries maintain that these rounds are safe and do not pose a radiation threat during or after use.
Either way, the introduction of those rounds is not going to sit well with Putin, who is being pushed further and further into a response no one should want to see.