Cruelty of the vacuum bomb

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Cruelty of the vacuum bomb

The author is a national news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

All lethal weapons are cruel, but the vacuum bomb is especially heinous.

The vacuum bomb creates shock waves and high temperatures with its explosion and absorbs oxygen. As oxygen is sucked in, the vicinity of the explosion becomes a vacuum temporarily, completely annihilating the lives around the explosion. Some military experts say it is the most powerful bomb, besides nuclear bombs.

It is alleged that Russia used vacuum bombs in the latest invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said on Feb. 28 that the Russian forces were using vacuum bombs prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

The conventions are the international laws on humanitarian treatment during war. It stipulates that wounded soldiers and prisoners of war as well as civilians not participating in combat must be protected. Vacuum bombs may incur indiscriminate damage on not only the troops but also civilians.

It has not been officially confirmed whether Russia actually used vacuum bombs, but there is circumstantial evidence. CNN reported on Feb. 27 that a rocket launcher suspected to have been used for dropping vacuum bombs was found near the northeastern border city of Kharkiv.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that if that were true, it would potentially be a war crime, and urged an investigation by the international community. In fact, the International Criminal Court has announced an investigation.

Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to end the tragedy is in progress. Little agreement was reached in the first meeting on Feb. 28. Consistent talks are necessary since it is hard to settle on confrontation and interests over issues such as Ukraine’s NATO entry. However, Russia must give a promise to “at least no more use of force” as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary sacrifice and tragedy.

If Russia adheres to the war, not just Russia but also Ukraine would fall into the tragedy. The international community and protestors in Russia are raising their anti-war voices. Following the United States and Europe, the neutral state of Switzerland has also joined in the sanctions against Russia.

A vacuum bomb temporarily paralyzes the vicinity, but Russia’s stubbornness may turn the entire country into a huge vacuum.

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