Cluster and vacuum bombs were used on Ukrainian civilians on Monday, according to human rights organisations and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States of America. Several international groups have strongly denounced the use of these weapons systems.
According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Russian forces appeared to have used cluster munitions, which are prohibited under international law. Amnesty International accuses the Russian government of striking a preschool in northeastern Ukraine while civilians were taking refuge within the building.
Following a meeting with members of the United States Congress, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, told reporters that Russia had deployed a thermobaric weapon known as a vacuum bomb.
A vacuum bomb is an explosive device that draws oxygen from the surrounding air to produce a high-temperature explosion. It often produces a blast wave that lasts significantly longer than that of a conventional explosive and has the potential to evaporate human beings.
So far, there hasn’t been any official proof that Russians employed cluster and vacuum bombs in the Ukrainian conflict. CNN claimed that one of its teams had spotted a Russian thermobaric multiple rocket launcher near the Ukrainian border on Saturday afternoon.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that she had heard reports of Russian use of such weapons, but that she did not have proof of such usage. Also, if the claims are correct, she believes that this would be considered a war crime.
The Russian embassy in Washington did not reply to the requests for comment.
Thermobaric weapons are commonly used by many militaries and aren’t illegal under international law.