Home Uncategorized Which countries have nuclear weapons and where are they?

Which countries have nuclear weapons and where are they?


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has risen fears among the population about use of nuclear weapons in Europe or against the United States. This is the level of concern I have not seen since the end of the Cold War.

NATO countries were surprised by the hidden threats of Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons against “whoever interferes with us” in Ukraine, as well as the deployment of additional nuclear service officers on shifts under “special mode of combat duty».

Both Russia and the United States have thousands of nuclear weapons, most of which are five or more times more powerful than the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Among them are about 1,600 weapons on standby from each side that are capable of hitting targets around the globe.

These figures are close to the limits allowed in 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, often called the New START, which is the only current nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States. Many of these missiles can be equipped with multiple nuclear warheads that can independently hit different locations.

To ensure that countries comply with restrictions on warheads and missiles, the treaty includes methods for both sides to monitor and verify compliance. Until 2018, it was in Russia and the United States fulfilled their obligations as part of the new START, and in early 2021 the treaty was extended for another five years.

The nuclear arsenals of both countries also include hundreds of short-range nuclear weapons that are not covered by any treaty. There are currently almost 2,000 of them in Russia, about 10 times more as the United States, according to the most cited non-state estimates.

About half of the approximately 200 U.S. short-range weapons are believed to be deployed in five NATO countries in Europe: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – although the United States does not confirm or deny their whereabouts. During the war, Allied planes took off from these places and flew to their targets before dropping bombs.

Two other NATO members, France and the United Kingdom, also have their own nuclear arsenals. Each has several hundred nuclear weapons – far fewer than nuclear superpowers. France has both nuclear missiles to launch submarines and cruise nuclear missiles to launch aircraft; The United Kingdom has only nuclear weapons launched by submarines. Both countries have publicly disclosed the size and nature of their arsenals, but neither country is or has been a party to US-Russian arms control agreements.

The United States, Britain and France are defending other NATO allies under their “nuclear umbrellas“In line with NATO’s commitments, an attack on any ally will be seen as an attack on the entire alliance.

Of China nuclear arsenal currently similar in size to the arsenals of Britain and France. But it is growing rapidly, and some U.S. officials fear that China seeking parity with the United States. China, France and the United Kingdom are not covered by any arms control treaties.

India, Pakistan and Israel each has dozens of nuclear weapons. None of them signed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weaponsin which the signatories agree to limit the possession of nuclear weapons to five permanent members of the UN Security Council, each of whom possessed nuclear weapons prior to its signing.

North Korea, which also owns dozens of nuclear weapons, signed the treaty in 1985, but withdrew in 2003. repeatedly checked nuclear weapons and missiles to carry them.

Previously, nuclear weapons were in other places. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the republics that became Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan had former Soviet nuclear weapons on their territory. In exchange for international guarantees of their safetyall three countries handed over their weapons to Russia.

Fortunately, none of these weapons have been used in the war since the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But as recent events remind us, the risk of using them remains a formidable opportunity.

Authors: Miles A. Pomper – Senior Fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury | Vasily Tuganov – Assistant Research Fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury

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