What Are the Thermite Bombs That the Russians Allegedly Used in Ukraine?


What Are the Thermite Bombs That the Russians Allegedly Used in Ukraine?

The Donbas region, which
includes the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, is where Russia had concentrated
its offensive efforts since April, when it withdrew from northern Ukraine and
the capital, Kyiv. 

The region comprises both
Kyiv-controlled parts as well as Russia-backed separatist-controlled areas. In
the most recent video, streaks of white light can be seen falling in
Donetsk, a city under the control of Russian-backed separatists. 

Rob Lee, a Russian defense
policy specialist at King’s College London’s Department of War Studies, tweeted
a video with the caption, “There are a number of videos showing what looks
like incendiary munitions used on Donetsk tonight.”

Incendiary weapons can ignite
objects or injure humans with burns or respiratory injuries using heat, flame,
or a combination of these. These weapons or munitions are produced when a
flammable substance undergoes a chemical reaction. 

Some believed the munitions in
the latest video contained white phosphorus, a chemical that self-ignites and
has a burning temperature of up to 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Others claimed it
was thermite, an explosive substance that burns at a temperature of more than
4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Are the Thermite Bombs That the Russians Allegedly Used in Ukraine?

Aric Toler, a researcher at
the investigative journalism group Bellingcat, tweeted, “Skies over Donetsk,
crazy. I’d say this looks like CGI if it weren’t filmed by lots of different
people. Thermite, not phosphorus.” 

It is important to note that Protocol
III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) prohibits using incendiary
weapons in armed conflict. The convention forbids the use of incendiary weapons
dropped from the air in regions with significant civilian populations. 

However, Human Rights
Watch notes that it permits using ground-launched incendiary weapons
in the same circumstance when the military target is “clearly separated from
the concentration of civilians, and all feasible precautions are taken.” 

Incendiary weapons “inflict
excruciating burns, sometimes to the bone, and can cause respiratory damage,
infection, shock, and organ failure, HRW said in a 2020 report. Few countries
have used these weapons against their adversaries in the past. 



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