August 19, 2022

The technology is banned under the Geneva Convention

Russia has confirmed it has used thermobaric ‘vacuum bombs’ during their war in Ukraine, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD spoke about the weapon being used in Ukraine on Twitter, saying Russia is using the TOS-1A which is banned under the Geneva Convention, and uses “thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects”.

The aerosol-based, fuel-air explosives are often referred to as “vacuum bombs” and are considered one of the most barbaric forms of warfare.

After the first missile distributes an aerosol made from carbon-based fuel a second charge ignites the cloud, creating a giant fireball and subsequent shockwave which causes a vacuum that sucks up surrounding oxygen.

These weapons are also capable of incinerating human bodies entirely.

Thermobaric weapons technology has been around since the Soviet era and isn’t exclusive to Russian armaments, yet many are questioning how vacuum bombs have been able to be deployed across the globe.

The launch system is already thought to have been spotted on a road between the capital Kyiv and the town of Sumy, according to a Russian account on Telegram. Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda also carried claims from Russian artilleryman, sergeant Sergei Gubarev, that he had used the weapon.

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Gubarev claims that he used the weapon on March 4 in the Chernihiv region – the same town which has already been under heavy bombardment by the Russians and where 47 civilians were killed as they queued for bread.

More than 400 civilians are said to have been killed since the conflict began, with military casualties significantly higher on both sides.

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