Many Ukrainian soldiers who are deployed to the ongoing war carry “suicide pistols” that they could use to end their suffering while “burning alive” from Russia’s munitions, according to an American who volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
The man, who was only identified by his call sign Elvis, told CBS News that he repeatedly witnessed about 30 Ukrainian soldiers commit suicide when they got into contact with Russia’s white phosphorous munitions.
“It comes down extremely slow, but there’s nothing you can do, and everything it touches just incinerates. A lot of guys have suicide pistols, and you’d hear them scream, and then they would say goodbye and then blow their own heads off,” Elvis said.
“There are certain weapons that I’ve seen used on the battlefield in Ukraine that — okay, it’s war, I get it — but [there are] certain weapons that are used that, if the rest of world could see what they cause, what that looks like when someone dies because of that, there would be a lot bigger outcry.”
White phosphorous is a wax-like substance that produces a cloud of thick white smoke and a garlic-like odor when used, which makes it effective for masking movements on the battlefield. That being said, white phosphorous is infamous for causing massive damage to humans. The substance ignites when it comes into contact with oxygen and burns at 800 degrees Celsius.
White phosphorous can burn through human skin and bone. Already dressed wounds caused by white phosphorous can also reignite if the dressings are removed and the wound is re-exposed to oxygen.
The use of air-dropped white phosphorous munitions and incendiary weapons in populated areas is prohibited under the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, as per Human Rights Watch.
During a virtual address to NATO leaders in March, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of using white phosphorous munitions.
“This morning we had phosphorus bombs from Russia, people were killed, children were killed,” Zelensky said in the address at the time, as quoted by NBC News.
Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko, in late March, also accused Russian forces of using white phosphorous munitions against Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia “never violated international conventions,” as per The Moscow Times. However, Peskov has stopped short of denying the use of white phosphorous bombs in the war.