The Ukrainian ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova said on Monday the Kremlin had used the devastating bomb – which is banned by the Geneva convention – during air strikes.

Russia uses vacuum bomb during air strikes, ambassador alleges.

“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova said after briefing members of the U.S. Congress.

“The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Western officials feared Moscow would begin using such weapons – dubbed the ‘father of all bombs’ – if their assault on the former fellow Soviet country faltered.

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The high-power thermobaric weapons vaporise bodies and crush internal organs.

They use the atmosphere itself as part of the explosion and are among the most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever developed.

Such weapons were developed by both the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

In September 2007, Russia detonated the largest one ever made – making it a point of concern for Western forces.

An unnamed official previously told the Daily Star: “My fear would be that if they don’t meet their timescale and objectives they would be indiscriminate in their use of violence.

“They don’t adhere to the same principles of necessity and proportionality and rule of law that Western forces do.”

It comes as Russia faces deepening isolation and economic turmoil as Western nations, united in condemnation of its assault, attempt to cripple it with an array of sanctions.

Ukraine’s allies also increased weapons transfers in support, with Finland agreeing to ship 2,500 assault rifles and 1,500 anti-tank weapons.

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Putin’s war has rumbled into its second week but things are not quite going to plan.

The Russian President and former KGB agent is understood to have been left “humiliated” after his goal to conquer his neighbours in 48 hours failed.

Instead, his troops have been met with a plucky and brutal resistance, suffering their share of heavy losses on the ground despite moving in on Kyiv rapidly.

The capital, as well as Kharkiv and Zhytomir, are under continued air strikes this evening as the first round of peace talks ended.

The two sides met on the Belarusian border while invading forces clashed with opposing troops and civilians on a fifth day of conflict.

In a worrying sign, Russia’s defence ministry said its nuclear missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets had been placed on enhanced combat duty.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, has said this evening he has signed a request to join the European Union, urging members to fast track the country on board.

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