The war in Ukraine – according to many experts – was supposed to last just a few weeks.
But here we are, over a year later, and Putin does not seem anywhere closer to victory than when he started his unprovoked invasion.
And the world is watching this conflict unfold right on social media:
Throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine, troops on both sides of the conflict have repeatedly resorted to improvised weapons – and in a video shared on Telegram in back in February, the sheer efficiency of some of these weapons is on full show.
In the clip, a Russian infantry fighting vehicle is seen abandoned in a snowy field somewhere in Ukraine.
The clip, recorded from a Ukrainian drone, shows the vehicle from above with its hatch open. Moments into the video, a thermobaric grenade can be seen falling from the drone and landing right inside of the hatch.
The first grenade that’s dropped into the vehicle creates only a small puff of smoke that escapes out of the hatch, but seconds later, another grenade is dropped once again into the hatch – and this time, the results are dramatic.
As the drone quickly rises back into the air, the thermobaric grenade explodes and severely damages the vehicle. An entire panel of the infantry fighting vehicle’s armor is seen being thrown into the air as smoke begins to billow out of the hatch and a fire starts to rage.
War analyst Rob Lee reposted the video to Twitter, noting that it appeared to be a BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle taken out by an RGT-27S thermobaric grenade.
Ukraine Uses Commercial Drones
A Ukrainian Telegram channel revealed several important details about the video, including that the drone used in the attack was a Mavic 3 commercial camera drone built by Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.
In April 2022, DJI halted all sales of its commercial drones to Ukrainian and Russian buyers in the hope that they would not be used in the conflict, but huge numbers of the drones remain in use following a Ukrainian donation drive.
Now, camera drones like the Mavic 3 not only give Ukrainians a chance to monitor Russian forces from the air, but they can even be adapted to drop powerful weapons.
“It is interesting that, in addition to the standard Soviet F-1, a Ukrainian RGT-27S2 thermobaric grenade with a cylindrical body (0:27), which Ukroboronprom first presented in July 2017, and which was adopted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in February 2020, was dropped into the hatch of the armored vehicle.”
The Telegram post also includes a promotional diagram of the thermobaric grenades which are designed to ignite a canister of fuel for a larger and hotter explosion upon impact.
Video of a Mavic 3 UAV from Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade dropping an F-1 and RGT-27S thermobaric grenade through the hatch of an abandoned Russian BMP-2. https://t.co/tcJRhDB1o1 pic.twitter.com/1HBz9NXJoK
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 20, 2023
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.