As tensions continue to rise and rhetoric heats up, let’s take a look at Russia’s nuclear capabilities.
On Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered partial mobilization while threatening to use “all available weapons” in the event of an attack.
In a previous recording speechPutin accused Western countries of arming Ukraine and encouraging Kyiv to attack Russia.
“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all available weapons systems,” he said. available to yourself. “This is not a hoax. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that weather ships can turn and head towards them.”
The United States and Kyiv’s Western allies told of Moscow’s latest moves – including planned annexation referendums in the occupied Ukraine – indicating that the Russian campaign has failed.
As tensions rise and rhetoric heats up, let’s take a look at Russia’s nuclear capabilities.
Which countries have nuclear weapons?
Nine countries hold about 12,700 warheads as of early 2022, according to estimates by the Federation of American Scientists.
While Russia and the US have dismantled thousands of retired warheads, they still possess 90% of the world’s total nuclear weapons.
At its peak in 1986, the two adversaries had nearly 65,000 nuclear warheads, making the nuclear arms race one of the most threatening events of the Cold War.
South Africa is the only country to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons. In 1989, the then government halted its nuclear weapons program and in 1990 began dismantling six nuclear weapons.
Two years later, South Africa joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state.
Russia’s nuclear program
Russia has about 5,977 nuclear warheads. About 1,588 warheads are currently deployed, which means they are on intercontinental missiles and at heavy bomber bases. About half (2,889) of Moscow’s warheads are not deployed on the launcher but are stored.
The remaining 1,500 warheads are retired and ready to be dismantled.
The Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test on August 29, 1949. Codenamed RDS-1, test conducted at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. Between 1949 and 1990, the Soviet Union carried out a total of 715 nuclear tests.
In 1961, the Soviet Union conducted the world’s largest nuclear explosion by detonating a Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya, north of the Arctic Circle. The yield of the explosion was 50 mega tons, 3,300 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Established in 1968, NPT aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The treaty prohibits signatories other than the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France from purchasing nuclear weapons in exchange for allowing them to pursue peaceful nuclear programs to produce electricity, overseen by the United Nations.
As many as 190 countries have signed up to the treaty, with only India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan never a party to the treaty. North Korea signed the treaty in 1985 but withdrew from it in 2003. Three years later, under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, the country detonated its first nuclear weapon.