The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has put the whole world on alert after his first televised address to the nation after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February. Putin announced a partial mobilization, that is, that he will recruit new soldiers, accused the West of seeking the destruction of Russia and threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
After the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has led him to recover numerous territories, the Russian president tries to gain credibility and announces new military moves to warn the West, which he accuses of trying to “weaken, divide and finally destroy our country”. “They openly say that in 1991 they were able to dismember the Soviet Union and now it is Russia’s turn,” he added.
last february Putin already ordered to put the “deterrence forces”, which include the nuclear ones, in a “special regime of service” in response to “declarations of aggression” of the main NATO countries, in the midst of a Russian military offensive against Ukraine.
The Russian Strategic Deterrent Forces are composed of the Strategic Offensive Forces and Strategic Defensive Forcesaccording to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The Strategic Offensive Forces have in their arsenal complexes of intercontinental missiles and long-range aircraft and are formed by the strategic nuclear forces, including the troops of Strategic Missiles. They also house strategic and long-range bomber units, submarines, ships and missile carrier aviation of the Russian Navy with long-range and precision weapons.
The Strategic Defense Forces are composed of aerospace defense forces and assets, including a missile attack warning system and a space control system, missile defense and space defense. It also includes anti-aircraft defense forces and means.
How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?
Russia currently has 1,625 nuclear warheads deployed, to which must be added another 2,870 in storage and another 1,760 of a strategic nature, for a total of 6,255 nuclear warheadsaccording to the latest updated data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The United States has 1,800 deployed nuclear warheads and, in total, gathers 5,550, according to SIPRI data. The other countries that have nuclear weapons are China (350), France (290), UK (225), Pakistan (165), India (156) and Israel (90)always according to data from this institute, which indicates the potential of North Korea to build between 40 and 50 nuclear warheads.
Although four decades ago Russia began to reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons following the agreements reached with the United States since Soviet times, it still retains the largest number of nuclear warheads in the world.
The latest data from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists indicates that Russia has 1,588 nuclear warheads deployed on ballistic missile and heavy bomber bases, with a further 977 strategic warheads and 1,912 non-strategic warheads in reserve.
Part of the arsenal that Russia possesses was located precisely in Ukraine, but after the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the constitution of Ukraine as an independent republic, this country renounced nuclear weapons and handed them over to Russia. with the counterpart of guaranteeing its independence and territorial integrity.
On March 1, 2018, Putin presented the sarmat ballistic missile with “practically unlimited range” and which, he said, rendered the US missile shield “useless.”
A few months later it presented another missile, the Hypersonic Avangard, also capable of overcoming the US anti-missile shield and, according to the Russian president, the anti-missile defense systems that are developed in the future. The Avangard can reach the densest layers of the atmosphere and exceed 20 times the speed of sound, allowing it to reach the United States in 15 minutes.
In February 2021, Russia and the United States extended for five years the last nuclear disarmament treaty in force between the two powers, the New START, which had been signed in 2010.
The new STARTwhich included a stockpile inspection system, rreduced the number of nuclear warheads by 30 percent, to 1,550 per country.
Also, limited the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles to 700, that of those deployed in submarines and strategic bombers equipped for nuclear weapons.
Also reduced to 800 the number of launchers for intercontinental missiles, submarine launchers for ballistic missiles and strategic bombers equipped for nuclear weapons, whether deployed or not.
The US response
“They would be even more global outcasts than they already are,” Biden said in an interview on CBS. Asked how the US would act if Russia used nuclear weapons, the US president evasively replied: “Do you think I would tell you if I knew exactly what we would do? Of course I’m not going to tell him.” But he did want to make it clear that there would be consequences because “It would change the face of war.” “It would be something not seen since World War II”.