Watch: Large-scale rocket strike with vacuum bombs in Ukraine

MOSCOW ($1=64.52 Russian Rubles) — The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine posted a video on its social profile on Twitter, claiming that Russian artillery forces have inflicted a powerful thermobaric and artillery strike in the Novomykhailivka area. Novomykhailivka is a village in Marinka Raion [district] in Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine, at 39.8 km SW from the center of Donetsk city.

Watch: Large-scale rocket strikes with vacuum bombs in Ukraine
Photo: YouTube

In its commentary on the video, the Ministry of Defense says that Russian troops used TOS-1A Solntsepyok. In the same post, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine called on its partners to provide similar MLRS systems to respond to the Russian offensive. “This is what the largest and most horrific war of the 21st century looks like. Ukraine is ready to strike back. To do this, we need NATO-style MLRS. Immediately,” the Twitter post said.

Watch: Large-scale rocket strikes with vacuum bombs in Ukraine
Twitter Screenshot

In addition to recording the thermobaric strikes of Russian artillery, the footage also recorded a phenomenon known as Wilson’s Cloud. This is a condensed cloud, which can lead to a decrease in air density around its appearance and thus, a large part of the water vapor in the air condenses. One condition is necessary for such a cloud to form: high humidity.

How TOS-1A works

The TOS-1 or TOS-1A multiple rocket launcher is capable of firing missiles with thermobaric warheads. These weapons do not use conventional ammunition. Instead, they are filled with high-temperature high-pressure explosives. They are sometimes called “vacuum bombs” because they absorb oxygen from the surrounding air, creating a powerful explosion and a large pressure wave, which can have devastating consequences.

According to Human Rights Watch, thermobaric weapons have been used in Chechnya with dire consequences. Their use has been condemned by several NGOs.

“TOS-1A’s effect is high-temperature heat — 2,500-3,000° C. An incomplete explosion renders a near-devastating effect, wide-area long-duration high-temperature flame. Even those outside of the blast area will be rendered ineffective with debilitating mental and physical trauma,” The Drive also explains.

About TOS-1A Solntsepyok

TOS-1A Solntsepyok is a modification of TOS-1 Buratino, a heavy multiple launch rocket system based on the T-72 tank. TOS-1 was developed from 1971 to 1979. The first prototypes of the T-72 chassis were manufactured at the Transport Engineering Design Bureau in Omsk.

The complex included a combat vehicle [BM] – a launcher with a package of 30 guides on the chassis of the T-72 tank and a transport-loading vehicle [TZM] on the KrAZ-255B chassis. In 1980, the vehicle successfully passed state tests and was recommended for adoption by the Soviet Army.

Russian 200mm thermobaric weapons spotted near Ukraine - sources
Photo credit:

The Buratino system was intended to disable lightly armored and automobile equipment, set fire to and destroy structures and buildings, and destroy enemy manpower by fragments and a shock wave created by the massive use of unguided rockets in thermobaric and smoke-inducing equipment.

The significant mass of the package of guide tubes with shells requires a high-carrying capacity chassis, and a small firing range [from 400 to 4500 meters] – a certain level of protection for the entire combat vehicle, which made it heavier up to 46 tons. A package of 30 guides for unguided rockets [NURS] was mounted on the turntable of the launcher.

The crew performed all actions to aim the installation at the target without leaving the car – with the help of sight and electric drives. The trajectory of the projectile’s flight to the target requires an accurate accounting of the firing conditions and the creation of a special fire control system, which consisted of an optical sight, a laser rangefinder, a roll sensor, and an electronic ballistic computer.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border, and claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

Watch: Russian lung-crushing thermobaric bombs fall over Azovstal
Photo: YouTube

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states, according to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole, and Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country, as well as tanks entering via the Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.


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