Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, and human rights groups have accused Russia of dropping cluster and vacuum bombs on Ukrainians on 1st March as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine enters the sixth day.
He said, “They used the vacuum bomb today. The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large”. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime and President Joe Biden’s administration would look to be a part of that conversation.”
We will cover in detail everything about a Vacuum Bomb in our article today.
What is a Vacuum Bomb?
Vacuum bombs also known as thermobaric weapons, aerosol bombs are very controversial as they cause huge destruction compared to similar conventional explosives. These bombs have a terrible impact on its surrounding area.
The targets are destroyed as the majority of the weapons rely on explosives to throw metal fragments whereas vacuum bomb uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion to destroy targets.
These are a new class of ammunition that is capable of vaporizing human bodies.
How does a Vacuum Bomb work?
A vacuum bomb is a two-stage munition wherein the first charge distributes aerosols to small metal particles and the second charge sparks that cloud creating a shock wave thereby sucking up the oxygen in the air and making a vacuum around the target area. According to experts, the blast wave lasts for a significantly longer time compared to traditional explosives.
A vacuum bomb consists of a fuel container along with two separate explosive charges. These bombs can be either launched like a rocket or dropped like a bomb from fighter aircraft. The bomb is capable of destroying reinforced buildings, equipment and killing or injuring humans.
There are utilized for different purposes and come in a variety of sizes that even it can be used by individual soldiers and hand-held rocket launchers. The impact of this bomb is very severe in enclosed spaces. There is an enhanced version of this kind of bomb that is customized to target defenders in caves and tunnel complexes.
Russia tested these thermobaric weapons in 2007. The explosion was equivalent to a 44-tonne conventional bomb thereby making it the world’s biggest non-nuclear explosive device.
This is very significant in the ongoing war as Russian forces are trying to take control of the capital, Kyiv, and other eastern cities of Ukraine.
Are there any war rules for using Vacuum Bombs?
There are no international laws as of now for its usage however if a country uses these bombs to kill civilians in built-up areas, schools, or hospitals, then it is considered a war crime under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.
Vacuum Bombs usage can be traced all the way back to the second World War when it was used by the German army. The USA has used these bombs during the Vietnam war and also used them to destroy al-Qaeda forces hiding in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001 after the twin-tower attack by terrorists.
In 1999, Russia used them in its war in Chechnya and these Russian-made bombs were used during the Syrian civil war in 2011.