Putin plans ‘heavy flamethrower’ missile terror from the skies

Russia’s 45-mile-long ‘mega trench’

Russia is preparing to deploy “airborne forces” armed with “heavy flamethrower” weapons in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In a series of tweets, the MoD said that Russian media had reported the transfer of “thermobaric multiple launch rocket systems” to Vladimir Putin’s airborne troops.

This comes after a Ukrainian military official claimed Russian fighters failed to “advance seriously anywhere” on the frontline, despite widespread reports of a spring offensive.

The MoD tweets said: “As of 03 April 2023, Russian media reported the transfer of TOS-1A thermobaric multiple launch rocket systems to Russian airborne forces (VDV).

“The highly destructive TOS-1A, which Russia designates as a ‘heavy flamethrower’, is typically operated by Russia’s specialist Chemical, Biological and Radiological Protection Troops in Ukraine, and has not previously been formally associated with the VDV.

“The transfer likely indicates a future role for the VDV in offensive operations in Ukraine. It is likely part of efforts to reconstitute the VDV after it suffered heavy casualties in the first nine months of the war.”

Thermobaric weapons are ones that suck oxygen out of a confined space as they burst into a fireball.

TOS-1A missiles are thermobaric and can destroy infrastructure.

This form of artillery system can cause supersonic blast waves, powerful enough to tear down buildings.

This development comes amid reports from the US-based thinktank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) that the Russian spring offensives have failed to bite.

ISW analysis said: “Russia has committed the approximately 300,000 mobilised soldiers, called up by partial mobilisation in September 2022 for the purpose of pursuing exactly such a spring offensive, to these various offensive efforts.

 “If 300,000 Russian soldiers have been unable to give Russia a decisive offensive edge in Ukraine it is highly unlikely that the commitment of additional forces in future mobilisation waves will produce a dramatically different outcome this year.

 “Ukraine is therefore well positioned to regain the initiative and launch counter offensives in critical sectors of the current frontline.”

The Head of the Council of Reservists of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Ivan Tymochko claimed that the Kremlin’s soldiers had stopped trying to break through the front line and instead were attempting to attract Zelensky’s forces to different locations, in order to prevent a counteroffensive.

Mr Tymochko said: “The enemy is trying to attack in directions, but we understand that these are no longer attacks to break through our front line, but attempts to withdraw our forces from specific directions so that we cannot start, in their understanding, our announced counteroffensive.”

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