Assertions made by Kenneth Bacon, a Pentagon spokesman, that ammunition containing depleted uranium used by Americans in Bosnia and Kosovo could not cause oncological diseases in NATO servicemen do not conform to reality, says Major General Boris Alekseyev, chief of the environmental unit at Russia’s Defence Ministry. In his words, ammunition containing depleted uranium cores, enhancing its armour-piercing power, were first applied by the anti-Iraqi coalition in 1991 during the Gulf War. 320 tons of shots containing depleted uranium were then used against Iraqi tanks and pillboxes. The incidence of cancerous diseases in the locals grew 4.6 times after the Storm in the Desert operation had been over, the major general says. Servicemen who had used the above weapons started to display heightened fatigue, head and muscle aches, loss of memory, difficulties in breathing. A mysterious disease was then for the first time mentioned – so called the storm in the desert syndrome – which every 7th US veteran of the Gulf War still suffers from. Boris Alekseyev reminds that the syndrome caused such repercussions that the US Congress demanded from the Pentagon a report explaining how depleted uranium affected men’s health and the environment, RIA Novosti reports. So, the report has been submitted. The document, in particular, says that “when a target is hit, over 70% of an armour-piercing core made of depleted uranium evaporates contaminating the area with uranium oxides.” It also says that “if depleted uranium gets into the human body, if may cause chemical or radioactive damage,” that is, radiation sickness. According to Boris Alekseyev, servicemen who have handled such weapons, now undergo special regular medical checks. In his view, this amounts to acknowledgement by the US army command of a hazardous and lasting effect depleted uranium has on man.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia