In the battle for Voehledar, a mining town in southeastern Ukraine, the Russians have deployed “thermite bombs”, according to images circulating online.
These are bombs that do not explode but burn. “This is one of the most brutal weapons of the Russians,” said Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Russian troops have been trying to take Voehledar since late January, but like so many other places in Ukraine, progress is slow, and casualties are heavy. For example, the 155th naval infantry, about 5,000 strong, was almost eliminated in mid-February.
The Russian troops on the ground already complained about a lack of ammunition and grenades, so they tried another way. The images above show how a “thermite rain” descends on the mining town. Although it is unknown when the images would date precisely, they would have been filmed “recently”.
But what exactly are thermite showers or thermite bombs? These bombs are made of metal powder mixed with metal oxide and are usually fired from rocket launchers on the ground. They do not explode but burn, reaching temperatures of over 2,400 degrees. Hot enough to sear through steel and concrete. “This is one of the most brutal weapons deployed by the Russians. They can cause immediate and lifelong suffering,” human rights organization Human Rights Watch said earlier.
Because they are less accurate, the “rains” are not deployed to hit specific targets but rather to hit larger areas. Although international law prohibits their use near civilian areas, it would not be the first time Russia has deployed thermite bombs during the war in Ukraine. It has been reported several times since May last year. However, it is not clear how many victims have already fallen.