(Moscow) The delivery by London to Ukraine of ammunition containing depleted uranium, recently mentioned by a British official, would represent a “ serious aggravation ” of the conflict, the head of Russian diplomacy warned on Wednesday.

“This is a step towards a further aggravation, a serious aggravation” of the conflict, Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Sochi, in southern Russia.

On Monday, British Deputy Defense Minister Annabel Goldie indicated that the United Kingdom intended to supply Ukraine with shells “ containing depleted uranium ”.

“ These ammunition is very effective in destroying modern tanks and armored vehicles ”, she underlined, explaining that these shells were intended for use with the Challenger tanks that London also intends to deliver.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that “Russia will be forced to retaliate” if such a delivery takes place, without providing details.

Lavrov said on Wednesday that the use of such shells would have serious health consequences, citing the example of the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s where such ammunition was used.

“Everyone remembers how, during the conflict in Yugoslavia, tens of thousands of civilians and those who used these ammunition suffered […] There was an increase in cancers, the soils were contaminated,” said- he declared.

“The use of depleted uranium munitions will drastically reduce or even destroy Ukraine’s ability to produce uncontaminated food,” added the Russian minister.

The British anti-nuclear organization Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament also condemned the delivery of munitions with depleted uranium on Tuesday, saying it would be an “additional environmental and health disaster for those living in the heart of the conflict”. .

Depleted uranium shells are ammunition intended to pierce armor, the use of which is criticized for the risks they would entail for the health of the soldiers using them and the populations living in the targeted areas.

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), depleted uranium is a “heavy metal, chemically and radiologically polluting”.

Depleted uranium munitions had been cited as one of the possible causes of “Gulf Syndrome”, the health problems of Gulf War veterans in 1991, but this has not been scientifically proven.