Ukraine-Russia conflict: What is a vacuum bomb and what happens if Russia uses it?

Ukraine-Russia conflict: What is a vacuum bomb and what happens if Russia uses it?
Representative imagePixabay
  • Russia has been accused of using vacuum and cluster bombs against Ukraine, which are condemned.
  • Some reports call the Vacuum bomb the “Father of all bombs”.
  • The use of any chemical and biological weapons in war by any nation is a war crime. The country will be prosecuted in the International Court of Law.
While war tension between Russia and Ukraine is escalating, the Human Rights Watch and Ukraine ambassador to the United States have accused Russia of using vacuum and cluster bombs — weapons condemned by several human rights groups including Amnesty International.

According to a report by news agency Reuters, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both said that Russian forces appeared to have used widely banned cluster munitions, with Amnesty accusing them of attacking a preschool in northeastern Ukraine where innocent civilians were taking shelter.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, said after meeting with the members of the US congress, “they used the vacuum bomb today. The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

What is a Vacuum bomb?

Also known as ‘Thermobaric’, is a weapon that sucks in oxygen from the surroundings and then generates high-temperature explosions. This weapon can produce an explosion of a longer duration than any other traditional explosive. Also, it has the deadly capability to vapourise human bodies.

It is a two-stage munition — the first charge distributes aerosols which are made up of tiny material of carbon-based fuel, and the second charge ignites creating a shock wave by sucking oxygen and making a vacuum around its target.


According to several media reports, this weapon is called ‘Father of all bombs’ because these bombs are capable of exploding with the power of 44 tonnes of trinitrotoluene (TNT). So basically, if it emits 44 tonnes of TNT of energy, an area of 300 metres and everything inside it can be burnt to ashes.

Reports suggest that Russia had developed this bomb weapon in 2007, which was four years after the United States created a similar weapon — known as ‘Mother of all bombs’.

What if Russia uses this weapon?

The use of such bombs is prohibited or banned in any military conflict. However, if a country uses any kind of chemical and biological weapons in a war, that country will be held responsible for war crimes and will be prosecuted in the International Court of Law, according to the Geneva Convention — which is a combination of four treaties, and three additional protocols, established in in 1928 after the first world war to bring international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war.

90 percent of companies in India are planning to give bonuses this year
All you need to know about the C-17 Globemaster aircraft being deployed for evacuation of Indians in Ukraine