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Russia deploys its TOS-1 ‘Heavy Flamethrower’ – capable of vaporising people – near Ukraine

Business Insider US

Russian heavy flamethrower system TOS-1 fires during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers.
Pavel Golovkin/AP Images
  • CNN footage shows a Russian TOS-1 "Heavy Flamethrower" being deployed near the Ukrainian border.
  • The TOS-1 is able to shoot thermobaric rockets.
  • Thermobaric weapons are capable of vaporising human bodies and crushing internal organs, say reports.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Footage from inside of Russia appears to show a thermobaric rocket launcher being deployed towards the Ukrainian border, according to The Guardian.

The video, shared on Twitter by CNN correspondent Frederik Pleitgen, displays a TOS-1 "Heavy Flamethrower", which can shoot thermobaric rockets mounted on a T-72 tank chassis. 

The footage was captured south of Belgorod, Pleitgen said, which is about 45 miles away from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The footage was captured south of Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border, according to CNN.
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The TOS-1 was first used during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, The Guardian said, and was also deployed in Chechnya and the Syrian civil war.

It can launch two types of warheads — incendiary and fuel-air explosives. The latter, also called vacuum or thermobaric rockets, work by using oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion.

See also | Germany to send Ukraine anti-tank weapons and missiles, in a ‘turning point' decision

The weapons system is extremely effective against entrenched personnel. The TOS-1A is used to clear out buildings, field fortifications and bunkers, according to Military-Today.com.

They are considerably more destructive than conventional explosives.

According to i News, thermobaric weapons can vaporise human bodies and crush internal organs.

Western officials first publicly expressed concern that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use thermobaric bombs to seize control of Ukraine on Friday, HuffPost reported.

"My fear would be that if they don't meet the timescales and objectives, they would be indiscriminate in the use of violence," one Western official said, per i News. "They don't adhere to the same principles of necessity and proportionality and the rule of law that Western forces do."

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