The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, ruled on the advances of Ukrainian troops against Russian forces, acknowledging that they are being “intense and difficult” fighting. This Thursday, September 7, Moscow ruled on the US decision to send depleted uranium weapons 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.
“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,” Stoltenberg explained during the joint session of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense, acknowledging that the fighting is being “intense and difficult.” .
Some statements in line with those made on Wednesday by the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who arrived in Kiev on a surprise visit to monitor the advances of the 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 reclaim the land,” Blinken said Thursday, noting that a third of Ukrainian territory is mined or covered by Russian unexploded munitions.
The Ukrainians “have high resilience,” praised the US official during his visit to the Chernigiv region, occupied by Moscow at the start 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, the Executive of Volodimir Zelensky claimed to have crossed the first line of defense of the Russian forces in their insistent offensive in southern Ukraine, acknowledging that the advance is being slower than expected and that their Soldiers are paying a “heavy 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 a Russian drone on 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 pronouncement that comes after Ukraine said, last Monday, that the drone detonated on Romanian soil after a Russian air strike against a Ukrainian port near the Danube river.
“We are waiting for the ongoing investigations,” Secretary Stoltenberg said, adding that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “demonstrates the risks and accidents” on NATO borders, commenting that the Alliance will increase surveillance and military presence in the eastern flank.
On Wednesday, the Romanian Defense Minister said that drone parts had been found on its territory, but 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,” Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said at the time.
“Criminal act”: Russia refuses to supply depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine
For its part, the Kremlin reacted to the recent US announcement about supplying depleted uranium weapons for Abrams tanks, as part of the latest $175 million aid package for Kiev. “This is a criminal act,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
“This is not just an escalation step, but is a reflection of Washington’s outrageous 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 has made such 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 DU enters the target vehicle, the larger fragments tend to chew through whatever is inside, while the uranium’s pyrophoricity increases the likelihood that the vehicle’s fuel and/or ammunition will explode,” he explains. Oak Ridge Associated Universities Museum of Radiation and Radioactivity, 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 some 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
#NATO #Ukraine #gradually #gains #ground #counteroffensive #Russia