According to reports, Western officials are concerned that Russia could use one of the most powerful non-nuclear bombs, the “father of all bombs,” in its offensive against Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin continues to stare down NATO nations that might seek to interfere.
While civilians take up arms against the encroaching Russian forces, Russian vehicles carrying thermobaric weapons were reportedly spotted just 25 miles from the border with Ukraine.
According to The Sun, TikTok users shared a video of a Russian military convoy that Rob Lee, a Ph.D. student at King’s College London, claimed was “thermobaric troops on the move.”
Indeed, as Huffington Post reported, Western officials are warning that Russia has thermobaric weaponry in its arsenal and could be prepared to use it as the invasion continues.
Thermobaric weapons, which use the atmosphere to vaporize everything in their detonation zone, making them some of the deadliest and most destructive non-nuclear bombs, have been used by Russia in Chechnya as well as by the U.S. in Afghanistan while hunting for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The Sun noted that they can level an entire city block in one blast and cause particularly violent deaths as victims are torn apart and suffocated. Body armor and hard cover are useless. One blast in Afghanistan in 2017 left a crater 1,000 feet wide, according to the Daily Mail.
Two thermobaric weapons the Russian military is equipped with — the Buratino and the Solntsepek — are “very useful weapons for a military that might be going into urban combat with little regard for collateral damage,” defense and national security analyst Charlie Gao told The Sun.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden seemed more interested in his Supreme Court nominee on Friday, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened Putin with further sanctions if he doesn’t shape up and stop invading Ukraine.
Clearly, the threats aren’t working.
That is not to say that we should send our own troops over to Ukraine to help fend off the Russians, which it is not hyperbolic to say has the potential to launch World War III. We all know the vast majority of Americans are completely burned out from sending our boys off to fight someone else’s war, often to the benefit of a small group of elites and to the detriment of virtually everyone else involved.
But it is clear that what is happening in Ukraine is atrocious and could easily get far deadlier at any moment.
Look, in today’s hyper-opinionated social media climate, it can be disorienting to not know quite what to think about a pressing global crisis. But it is OK to be confused and conflicted about the situation in Ukraine, particularly as it’s told by Western media and officials.
This much I know: Vladimir Putin is a powerful man who has the lives of millions of people in the palm of his hand right now as our own leaders slap him with sanctions in response.
There are many layers to the power dynamic between Russia and the West, but to the people on the ground in Ukraine, all they’re concerned about is life and death.
They might be pawns on a chessboard to Putin and perhaps other world leaders, but those of us with a biblical worldview know that each and every one of their lives is precious and does not deserve to be snuffed out.
These are not Afghan Taliban fighters who signed up to wage war in their homeland and attack peacekeeping troops; these are the citizens of a democratic nation who never asked to be involved in Putin’s power plays.
Pray for the people of Ukraine, for the fathers who have just tearfully said goodbye to their wives and children, perhaps for the last time, for the leaders of every country involved to humble themselves before God, for the followers of Christ on the ground tasked with shining his light in a dark time.
Ultimately, we know that men with the power to destroy bodies — even thousands of bodies at once in an apocalyptic, vaporizing blast — will have to answer to him who can destroy the soul.
When we don’t know what else to think about a horrific situation, we can always take comfort in the knowledge that every knee will one day bow to the ultimate world power.