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Furious Putin prepares to use ‘father of all bombs’ as brave Ukrainians hold up advance

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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 300 meters (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.

‘My fear would be that if they don’t meet their timescale and objectives they would be indiscriminate in their use of violence,’ the official said. ‘They don’t adhere to the same principles of necessity and proportionality and rule of law that Western forces do.’

The bomb works by using oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, making it far deadlier than a conventional weapon.

While Russian special forces have reached the suburbs of Kyiv, the bulk of Russia’s heavy armour is believed to be still more than 50km away from the capital.

Western officials have suggested Russia will kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his ministers if they seize Kyiv.

Russia is launching a massive amphibious assault to bring thousands of navy personnel ashore in Ukraine on Friday, as Kyiv puts up a more aggressive defense than Moscow ever expected.

The assault is already underway in Ukraine, and Russian personnel sailed through the Sea of Azov, coming into west of Mariupol, a senior U.S. defence official said. The amphibious assault represents a significant ramping up of the conflict, as the Russian navy has until now played a largely supporting role in the fight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has staged two amphibious attacks – the other is in Crimea and could land troop sin Odesa.

The U.S. has counted 200 Russian missile attacks so far. While most have been launched toward Ukrainian military installations, some have hit civilian areas.

The senior U.S. defence official said Friday that Russia appears to have lost some of its momentum due to the Ukrainian’s fiery resistance.

‘We do assess that there is greater resistance by the Ukrainians than the Russians expected,’ the official said, adding Ukraine’s command and control of its military ‘remains intact.’

‘They are not moving on Kyiv as fast as what we believe they anticipated they would be able to do. That said, they continue to try to move on Kyiv.’

The official also said several hundred Americans have left Ukraine over the past few hours.

Still, Putin has only mobilized about one-third of the troops he has stationed at the Ukraine border, the official said.

Few expect Ukraine to emerge victorious from what is almost certain to be a prolonged, bloody, and vicious war – but so far, Kyiv’s forces have managed to inflict heavy losses on Putin’s troops.

A thermobaric bomb explosion during the Caucasus 2016 strategic drills at Opuk range of Russia's Southern Military District

A thermobaric bomb explosion during the Caucasus 2016 strategic drills at Opuk range of Russia’s Southern Military District

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today that Putin’s forces had failed to achieve many of their first day objectives. He said Russia had lost more than 450 personnel so far. Ukraine put the figure closer to 800. Neither number has been independently verified.

Western officials also suggested that Russia is avoiding many urban areas in order to avoid being bogged down in street fighting that could create heavy casualties and slow their advance.

Chief of Defence Intelligence Sir Jim Hockenhull said: ‘Russian forces continue to advance on two axis towards Kyiv. Their objective is to encircle the capital, to secure control of the population and change the regime.

‘Russia continues to conduct strikes across Ukraine. Overnight Russia launched a concerted series of strikes on targets in Kyiv. Multiple Rocket Launchers have been employed in Chernihiv and Kharkiv.

‘Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to offer strong resistance, focusing on the defence of key cities throughout Ukraine.’

It came as Boris Johnson said the UK will ‘imminently’ level personal sanctions against Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov,.

The Prime Minister told Nato leaders in a virtual meeting tonight that the UK would echo measures announced by the EU to target the Russian leader.

Referring to Mr Putin’s wish to recover territory which previously fell under the USSR, he said Russia was ‘engaging in a revanchist mission to overturn post-Cold War order’.

Mr Johnson told allies ‘the UK would introduce sanctions against President Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov imminently, on top of the sanctions package the UK announced yesterday’, according to a No 10 spokesman.

‘He warned the group that the Russian president’s ambitions might not stop there and that this was a Euro-Atlantic crisis with global consequences,’ he said.

Mr Johnson also used the meeting to urge ‘immediate action’ over the banning of Russia from the Swift payment system to ‘inflict maximum pain’ on the Kremlin.

Senior Ukrainian officials, considered to be on Putin’s ‘hit list’, have joined the exodus to Poland and are being airlifted to safety by joint British and American special forces, sources have suggested.

The source refused to name who was being rescued but added: ‘These are rescue missions.’

But he insisted that President Volodymyr Zelensky and his family were determined to stay with his people.

Ukraine shares a 332-mile-long border with Poland, and it takes around eight hours to drive from Kyiv to Lviv, a distance of around 335 miles.

Lviv is around 50 miles from the frontier with Poland and is expected to become a safe refuge for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war.

This afternoon a brave Ukrainian citizen was been pictured standing up to Putin’s troops by trying to block a Russian military convoy – in scenes reminiscent of Tiananmen Square’s ‘tank man’ blocking Chinese forces in 1989.

Russia is launching a massive amphibious assault to bring thousands of navy personnel ashore in Ukraine on Friday, as Kyiv puts up a more aggressive defense than Moscow ever expected

Russia is launching a massive amphibious assault to bring thousands of navy personnel ashore in Ukraine on Friday, as Kyiv puts up a more aggressive defense than Moscow ever expected

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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