Russia says it’s used thermobaric weapon system in Ukraine: UK

The Russian Ministry of Defense claims it has used a thermobaric rocket launching weapon in its deadly attack on Ukraine, the United Kingdom (U.K.) announced Wednesday. 

Moscow “confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense tweeted 

The statement was accompanied by a video of the Soviet-era weapon, which launches rockets from atop a tank body that suck in surrounding oxygen, creating higher temperatures and more damaging explosions that last longer than conventional blasts.  

“The impact of the TOS-1A is devastating,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said in the video. “It can destroy infrastructure and cause significant damage to internal organs and flash burns, resulting in death to those exposed.” 

The U.S. military, however, has still seen “no indications” that thermobaric weapons have been used, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters later Wednesday. 

Under international laws of armed conflict, thermobaric weapons are not illegal but can’t be used against military targets if their launch could also harm civilians. 

Footage from the Kremlin incursion, which is now at the two-week mark, has shown TOS-1A weapons deployed to Ukraine. 

“We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine which has no place on the battlefield,” the U.S. envoy to the United Nations (U.N.) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the  U.N. General Assembly last week.  

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, made similar allegations to American lawmakers.  

Russia’s confirmation comes after U.S. officials and lawmakers warned that Moscow is escalating its violence in Ukraine, with hundreds of civilians, including children, killed in attacks. 

Russia has been criticized for targeting civilian infrastructure, including communication networks, schools and hospitals.

Tags John Kirby Linda Thomas-Greenfield Russian Ministry of Defense thermobaric rocket

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