A Russian counterpart has confirmed to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense on Wednesday that Russia has admitted to using thermobaric bombs in its attacks on Ukraine.

Russia has been firing rockets from tanks using their TOS-1A Heavy flamethrower weapon system with thermobaric warheads, the ministry explained in a video it tweeted. The weapons create a high-temperature explosion when detonated by sucking the oxygen out of the surrounding air.

The ministry said in the video, “The impact of the TOS-1A is devastating. It can destroy infrastructure, and cause significant damage to internal organs and flesh burns, resulting in death to those exposed.”
Forbes reported on Wednesday that international law heavily regulates the use of thermobaric bombs, but they are not outright banned. The weapon systems are not allowed to be used against civilians, or military targets that could endanger civilian population, under the Geneva Convention.

While it was known Russia had deployed the weapons system into Ukraine, it was not confirmed to have been used in the invasion until Wednesday, Forbes also reported.

Forbes continued in their report, Russia is believed to have used the weapons in Syria, as well as its campaign against Grozny, the Chechen capital, in late 1999 and early 2000. Separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine have also been accused of using them since 2014.

Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared separatist-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine independent. Putin has claimed the deployment of troops is an effort to achieve the “denazification” of its neighbor.

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