Is Russia losing the war? Rattled Putin puts nuclear force on alert, may use 'father of all bombs'
There are speculations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is scared of losing the war in Ukraine after reports that he is deploying one of the deadliest weapons known to man to the country and is also considering nuclear options.
The Russian strongman deployed a terrifying rocket system onto the battlefield after three days of dogged defense by Ukrainian forces. In footage verified by CNN, the Russian army was seen moving TOS-1 Buratino rockets towards the front line. Meanwhile, Putin had reportedly also ordered the military command to put nuclear deterrence forces on high alert following aggressive statements by NATO countries, according to Reuters.
Experts highlighted how the TOS-1 'Buratino' and TOS-1A 'Solntsepek' are some of the most devastating weapons in modern-day warfare aside from nuclear warheads. The tanks reportedly feature a terrifying oblong-shaped rack on top, loaded with batches of incendiary and thermobaric rockets that can wipe out everything within a 300-yard radius. British military sources warned that the weapon could potentially kill tens of thousands of civilians if used. The blast from the rockets is said to produce a wall of flame that is followed by a vacuum, causing fatal damage to lungs and other internal organs.
The powerful thermobaric devices, which are among the world's deadliest non-nuclear weaponry, were filmed on the back of a lorry on Saturday, February 27, just ten miles from Russia's border with northern Ukraine. The vehicles were reportedly headed for the city of Kharkiv where Ukrainian troops are fiercely fighting with Russian troops.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, General Sir Richard Barrons, a former head of the UK’s joint forces command, said that it was unclear if Putin would order his troops to actually use the weapons. However, he noted that the consequences can be horrifying if he did. "Unleashing thermobaric weapons and the mass concentrated use of heavy artillery will cause the indiscriminate, unnecessary, and unwarranted slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people," he said. "The thing we have never known, and nobody knows, is the intent behind this because nobody understands what is in Putin’s mind," he added.
Russian troops have become bogged down after an attempt to surround Kharkiv was foiled by Ukrainian soldiers, who launched a scathing counter-attack on Russian armored vehicles by using British anti-tank missiles. Former Russian MP Ilya Ponomarev said that Putin’s military commanders expected to seize Ukraine within one to four days and that capturing Kharkiv was central to the plan. "They’re counting on Kharkiv to surrender first. And the other cities will follow suit to avoid bloodshed," he said.
Frederik Pleitgen @fpleitgenCNN reports from Russia-Ukraine border that Russia is moving a lot more heavy equipment across the border into Ukraine today than they have in the past couple of days pic.twitter.com/Iu1MZeY1Tg— Steve Lookner (@lookner) February 26, 2022
Footage obtained and verified by CNN showed the thermobaric weapons system mounted on a T-72 tank chassis that was being transported at 1.20 pm local time. Barrons noted how the use of heavy weaponry could turn Russian citizens against Putin. "The thing that is appearing now is that lots of Russians, including important Russians, are wondering what path of lunacy Putin is taking them down now," he said. "And it is open to them to do something about it, in the way that it is not open to us," he further said.