Russia could use savage superweapons that vaporize bodies and crush internal organs if their assault of Ukraine becomes bogged down, Western officials warned tonight.
They fear Vladimir Putin could resort to high-power thermobaric weapons – dubbed the ‘father of all bombs’ – as brave Ukrainians resist his attempts to take control of Kyiv.
There are also concerns that units that are running behind schedule as they encounter stiff opposition could resort to indiscriminate shelling as a terror weapon.
Thermobaric weapons – also known as vacuum bombs – are high-powered explosive that use the atmosphere itself as part of the explosion. They are among the most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever developed.
A thermobaric bomb dropped by the US on Taliban in Afghanistan in 2017 weighed 21,600 pounds and left a crater more than 300metres (1,000 feet) wide after it exploded six feet above the ground.
Thermobaric weapons were developed by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. In September 2007, Russia detonated the largest thermobaric weapon ever made, which created an explosion equivalent to 39.9 tons.
The U.S. version of the weapon reportedly costs over $16 million each.