The Russian offensive in Ukraine it is about to turn one year old and there seems to be no indication that it is close to completion. Since Vladimir Putin possibly the “military operation” on February 24, 2022, the world witnessed the war escalation between both countries and their respective allies.
One of the themes that resonated the most was the use of thermobaric bombs. Better known as vacuum weapons, this type of weapon has the characteristic of being highly destructive, since they have the ability to “absorb all the oxygen” from the place where they are detonated and inflict massive casualties on the war front.
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Its use, depending on the case, could be considered a war crime. Added to this are the accusations by human rights organizations regarding the use of racism bombs against the civilian population.
Although there is no information confirming its use, Russia mobilized the vehicles tos-1, possessing thermobaric rocket launchers, according to images released by the Ukrainian government. This raised the tension considering that it would not be the first time that the heir country of the Soviet Union has used this type of weapon, as evidenced in Afghanistan in the eighties or in the war in Chechnya (1999-2004).
How does a thermobaric bomb work?
Thermobaric or “vacuum” weapons work in two stages. The first consists of a warhead composed of finely pulverized gas, liquid, or explosives that, when exploded, generates an aerosol cloud.
The second explosive charge ignites that cloud, creating a fireball that reaches a temperature of three thousand degrees. Then he oxygen from accelerated air to detonation is consumedwhich generates a vacuum and an enormous pressure of 1.5 to two times higher than that caused by conventional explosives.
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What makes them more damaging is that they generate a huge shock wave that can causer fatal injuries to all living beings around. In the first circle, the explosion pulverizes the bodies. In the second, it can cause concussion, internal organ rupture, eardrums and blindness.
While there was no official confirmation that these weapons were used in the Ukraine conflict, CNN reported that Ukraine “would have destroyed” Russian troops’ thermobaric weapons.
The thermobaric bomb is considered “the largest non-nuclear bomb” in existence for its destructiveness and has extremely limited use against military targets. However, there were complaints against Russia for use them against civilian areas. In the latter case it would mean a violation of the Geneva Conventions on war.
Rights organizations such as Amnesty International affirm that international humanitarian law prohibits the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons, such as cluster munitions, others of great destruction by Russia in Ukraine. Launching indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians is a war crime.
For its part, the International Criminal Court opened an investigation against Russia over possible war crimes in Ukraine, which could include the use of thermobaric weapons.
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