In a significant development, the Biden administration is set to dispatch armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine, marking the first-ever U.S. shipment of this controversial ammunition, according to a document seen by Reuters and confirmed by two U.S. officials. These rounds, designed to target Russian tanks, will be included in a forthcoming military aid package for Ukraine, scheduled to be unveiled in the coming week. The munitions are compatible with U.S. Abrams tanks, which are expected to be delivered to Ukraine in the near future. While the precise value and composition of the aid package are still being finalized, U.S. officials estimate its worth to range between $240 million and $375 million, depending on its contents. The White House has not yet provided an official comment on this development. This decision follows the earlier provision of cluster munitions by the Biden administration to Ukraine, despite concerns about the risks such weapons pose to civilian populations. Depleted uranium munitions have long been a subject of intense debate. Opponents, including the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, argue that the inhalation or ingestion of depleted uranium dust carries significant health risks, such as cancer and birth defects. Depleted uranium, a by-product of uranium enrichment, is favored for ammunition due to its exceptional density, which provides rounds with the capability to penetrate armor plating and self-ignite in a cloud of dust and metal upon impact. While depleted uranium is radioactive, it is notably less radioactive than naturally occurring uranium, although residual particles can linger for an extended period. The United States deployed depleted uranium munitions extensively during the Gulf Wars of 1990 and 2003, as well as during the NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia in 1999. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asserts that studies conducted in former Yugoslavia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Lebanon have not indicated a significant radiological hazard to the populations in affected regions. Nonetheless, the presence of radioactive material could exacerbate Ukraine’s already monumental post-war cleanup challenge. Large parts of the country remain littered with unexploded ordnance from cluster bombs and other munitions, along with hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel mines. Funding for this aid package is authorized through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, enabling the president to transfer articles and services from U.S. stockpiles without the need for congressional approval during emergencies. The material will be sourced from U.S. excess inventory. Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, security assistance to Ukraine has surpassed $43 billion, reflecting the ongoing support provided by the United States to its embattled ally in Eastern Europe.