Russia used the mighty vacuum bomb during her invasion of Ukraine, Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters Monday night after a meeting with US lawmakers.
A vacuum bomb, also called a thermobaric weapon, works by absorbing oxygen to create powerful high temperature explosions. If used in a civilian setting, such an attack could constitute a war crime.
“They used the vacuum bomb today,” Markarova said.
The bomb destroyed a Ukrainian army base in the northeastern town of Okhtyrka, killing 70 soldiers, the administrative head of the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, said on his Telegram channel. Footage from the scene showed the middle third of a main building ravaged by the blast.
Okhtyrka Mayor Pavel Kuzmenko described the weapon used in the attack as a vacuum bomb.
Ukrainian media released eyewitness video of the explosion, which had a timestamp of 5:32 p.m. on Monday.
In Washington, the White House said it had not independently verified the incidents.
“I don’t have any confirmation of that,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We have seen the reports. If true, it would potentially be a war crime.