July 15, 2022

Incendiary Weapons in Ukraine?


Incendiary Weapons in Ukraine?
An example of a white phosphorus bomb mid-explosion during WWII. Wikimedia Commons, USAAF

On July 1, several videos posted online captured Russian aircraft deploying white phosphorus bombs over Snake Island. This is not the first time Russian forces have been accused of using incendiary weapons during their war on Ukraine.

Incendiary weapons are infamous for their large dispersion patterns and for the gruesome injuries they inflict upon both soldiers and civilians. Incendiaries are flammable weapons that may be used for smoke screens, setting fires, and lighting up in the dark.

White phosphorus, the chemical allegedly used in Ukraine, is an example of an incendiary agent, and can be used to fill incendiary bombs. The thick and waxy substance ignites with oxygen and is capable of burning human flesh down to the bone, reaching a temperature of some 800 degrees Celsius. According to Brian Castner, Amnesty International war crimes investigator, water will actually make phosphorus burns worse, so there is often nothing an individual can do to immediately help themselves or others.

While Russia has been accused of repeatedly using incendiary weapons like white phosphorus since February, there has been no official confirmation. But the March 2022, video clearly shows white phosphorus being deployed in Kramatorsk, which President Zelensky said killed civilians, including children. Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk, also said that white phosphorus was used during the siege of the Azovstal steel plant at Mariupol. Incendiary weapons are notoriously difficult to contain, and so the phosphorus can easily spill over from combat areas into civilian ones.

While the use of white phosphorus is not banned internationally, incendiary agents of its kind are prohibited from use in areas where civilians are present, according to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons signed by Ukraine, Russia, and 111 other countries.

           

You Might Also Like

Suing for Peace, and Compensation
  • June 29, 2022

Suing for Peace, and Compensation

"The looting of Ukrainian goods for export – including grain and steel – has already led to rising prices and an increase in the number of people dying of hunger worldwide. This barbarism must be stopped, and Russia must pay in full. I believe in justice, and I will fight for it.” – Rinat Akhmetov, the Ukrainian businessman who is suing Russia
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955