Several videos have shown that Vladimir Putin is using deadly thermite bombs, capable of burning through flesh, to bring Hell to Ukraine.
In the most recent example from over the weekend, Russian incendiary munitions rained down on the Ukrainian town of Vuhledar, which has been all-but destroyed in brutal fighting as Moscow remains hell-bent on taking the nearby city of Bakhmut.
With a burn temperature of over 2,000 degrees Celsius, the weapons can easily set flammable surfaces alight, and can burn human flesh down to the bone.
The payload spreads the munitions over a wide area to inflict maximum damage.
While the use of incendiary weapons is permitted against military targets, the use of such weapons against civilian targets is a war crime under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Despite this, Russia has shown no hesitation when it comes to launching incendiary weapon attacks against civilian areas.
Several clips have emerged, showing flaming munitions being used to cause destruction on a mass scale, including an attack on the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol in May and on the town of Ozerne in September.
Each single ML-5 is a hexagonal-shaped magnesium casing packed with a thermite-type pyrotechnic composition.
The 180 ML-5s are packed in a matrix into the rocket’s 9N510 warhead, and eject when above their target – raining fire down from above.
With the missile designed to ignite vegetation, fuel and buildings, each munition has a burn time of at least two minutes to increase the chances of fires breaking out.
The use of incendiary bombs against civilian targets is outlawed by a UN treaty signed by Russia, Ukraine and 123 others.
Nevertheless, such weapons have been used repeatedly by Putin’s forces since its invasion began on February 24, 2022.
Thermite and other incendiary munitions are seen as the modern continuation of these forms of deadly weapons, which are deployed to strike targets across a large area when more precise strikes are not possible.
But it is for this reason that such weapons can also have a catastrophic effect on civilians.
The harm caused by incendiary weapons can be horrific.
Victims of incendiary weapon attacks can suffer fourth and even fifth-degree burns that damage skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bones – that can also lead to severe infections, shock and death.
The treatment for such injuries is excruciating.
Dressings must be changed daily and any dead skin removed in a process that has been likened to being ‘flayed alive’ by some first-hand accounts, according to Human Right’s Watch – which describes the weapons as ‘the cruellest in modern warfare’.
Following the bombing of the Azovstal steelworks in May, Serhiy Haidai – the Governor of Luhansk Oblast – called the Russian attackers war criminals and compared their actions to that of the Nazis in the Second World War.
Russia was accused of deliberately targeting Ukraine’s vast wheat fields with incendiary weapons in an attempt to ruin the country’s harvest in June.
Ukraine is considered the ‘bread basket of Europe,’ with its harvest being vital not only to its own population, but to millions of others around the world as well.
Ukraine and Western leaders have accused Russia of war crimes in both Syria and Ukraine, and have said Russian soldiers and leaders would one day be held accountable in a courtroom.
In addition to being accused of indiscriminately bombing civilian centres with artillery, cluster bombs and incendiary weapons, Russian soldiers have also been accused of kidnapping, raping, torturing and executing civilians and PoWs.