The International Criminal Court (ICC) based in the Hague, Netherlands, has launched an investigation into the Russian invasion of Ukraine after reports of alleged war crimes having been committed in the conflict, officials have confirmed.
Ukraine’s U.S. Ambassador Oksana Markarova told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Monday that at least one vacuum bomb had been deployed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in violation of international law. Markarova spoke about this before a closed congressional hearing.
On the same day, Karim Khan, the ICC’s attorney general, who had already been investigating Russia before the invasion, said he would launch an investigation into all other possible violations “as rapidly as possible.”
Thermobaric bombs — popularly known as “vacuum bombs” — consist of two stages: a small charge disperses the liquid fuel mixture into a fine cloud before the cloud is ignited, resulting in a huge fireball, a large diameter blast wave followed by a vacuum that sucks up oxygen in the affected area.
The White House is waiting for confirmation from international investigative agencies before taking action, officials said. “If that were true, it would be a potential war crime,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at a news conference on Monday.