Russia to drop `fuel air' bombs on Grozny

THE RUSSIAN air force may plan to use powerful "vacuum" or fuel- air bombs in Chechnya for the first time in the present war. The bombs explode above ground but exert enough pressure to kill people below ground.

As Russia stepped up its military campaign yesterday, its forces pounded the west of Grozny in what soldiers described as the fiercest shelling yet of the Chechen capital. Artillery crews said it was the first time in the eight-week offensive that they had been ordered to hit Grozny with such force.

A source at the Russian military headquarters in Mozdok told the Interfax agency that the high command planned "to use more powerful, cutting edge weapons and equipment against Chechen rebels."

He did not identify the weapon by name, but said it was a type of incendiary bomb, which had to be carried by aircraft heavier than any used in Chechnya since the start of the war. The bombs would be dropped only in mountainous and deserted territory where guerrillas had built strongholds and ammunition dumps. They would not be used "in the plains or near settlements".

The description makes it likely that the Russian air force intends to use "vacuum" bombs which it deployed during the last war in Chechnya in 1994-96 when they were dropped during the battle for Samashki, a village close to the border. The pressure from the explosion of the bomb can collapsed lungs of people hiding in bunkers thus killing them.

The Russian army has so far been fighting in low hills north of Grozny, the Chechen capital, and in the heavily populated Chechen plain. It has tried to keep its casualties low by advancing behind a heavy artillery and aerial bombardment. These tactics will be more difficult to pursue as the army advances into the Caucasus mountains in southern Chechnya, which may explain the deployment of the new bomb.

The air force also says it is preparing to deploy a new generation of Ka-50 "Black Shark" helicopters suitable for use in the mountains. Since the start of the fighting in Dagestan in August, air force officers say they have lost five helicopters destroyed and 147 damaged, mostly by small arms fire and heavy machine guns.

Despite poor weather conditions yesterday which limited air strikes, Russian long range artillery continued to bombard the Chechen town of Urus-Martan, said to be held by 3,500 guerrillas.

The Russian high command continues to exude confidence saying they were about to take the Chechen town of Argun and that several guerrilla commanders had come over to their side.

In a further sign that the attention of the Russian military is turning to its forthcoming campaign in the Caucasus, intelligence sources said that 30 per cent of the Chechen guerrillas with their equipment had moved into the mountains.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, the health of President Boris Yeltsin has once more broken down, forcing him to leave his desk for two weeks, though aides said it was only a cold.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines