Russia Confirms Use Of Thermobaric Rockets Which Can ‘Rupture Lungs’ In Ukraine
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Though there are no international laws specifically banning their use, thermobaric weapons – often referred to as vacuum bombs – are tightly regulated and are controversial due to the damage they cause.
Unlike conventional bombs, thermobaric weapons suck in oxygen from the surrounding air to create a high-temperature explosion.
The Russian MoD has confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine. The TOS-1A uses thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects.— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 9, 2022
Watch the video below for more information about this weapon and its devastating impact.
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/d8PLQ0PhQD
The rockets contain a mixture of highly explosive fuel and chemicals, and upon detonation send out supersonic blast waves that can tear through buildings, rupture lungs and other internal organs and cause flash burns.
Although footage from Ukraine appeared to show thermobaric rocket launchers on Russia’s TOS-1 vehicles, this is the first time the news has been confirmed.
In a post shared on Twitter, the MoD wrote: "The Russian MoD has confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine. The TOS-1A uses thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects."
Thermobaric bombs were developed in the 1960s by both the United States and the Soviet Union.
Russia reportedly detonated the largest vacuum bomb ever made in 2007, resulting in an explosion equivalent to 39.9 tons.
Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian armed forces staff, told Russia's state-run Channel One television at the time: "The results of tests of the aviation explosive device that has been created have shown that it is comparable with nuclear weapons in its efficiency and potential."
The US is said to have dropped a thermobaric missile, weighing 21,600 pounds, on the Taliban in 2017, leaving a crater more than 300m wide.
The russian army has deployed the TOS-1 heavy flamethrower which shoots thermobaric rockets, the was South of Belgorod. pic.twitter.com/XCxMI3bNB3— Frederik Pleitgen (@fpleitgenCNN) February 26, 2022
On Friday, 25 February, The Telegraph reported that officials voiced serious concern that Putin would resort to the use of such weaponry. One official said they were 'very concerned at the attitude [Russian forces] would adopt' if the Ukraine resistance continued to thwart their plans.
Earlier today, the Ukraine government called on Russia to ceasefire amid news that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has lost its power supply.
Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, took to Twitter to write: “The only electrical grid supplying the Chornobyl NPP and all its nuclear facilities occupied by Russian army is damaged.
“CNPP lost all electric supply. I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supply."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.