What countries have nuclear weapons, and where are they?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased fear among the public If use of nuclear weapons in Europe or against the United States. This level of concern has not seen since the end of the Cold War.

NATO countries have been surprised by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s implicit threat to use nuclear weapons against “anyone who disturbs us” in Ukraine, and his placement of additional nuclear officers in shifts under a “special combat regime.”

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 leveled with Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. These include about 1,600 weapons on standby on each side that can hit targets across the Globe.

These figures are close to the permitted limits according to 2011 New treaty on strategic arms reduction, often referred to as the “New START”, which is the only currently active nuclear control agreement between Russia and the United States. Their arsenals include intercontinental ballistic missiles, better known as the ICBM, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, as well as missiles fired from specialized aircraft. Many of these missiles can be equipped with several nuclear warheads that can hit different places independently.

To ensure that countries follow the boundaries of warheads and missiles, the Treaty contains methods for both sides to monitor and verify compliance. In 2018 had both Russia and the United States fulfilled its obligations under New START, and in early 2021 was the Treaty extended for another five years.

The nuclear arsenals of both nations also include hundreds of short-range nuclear weapons, which are not covered by any treaty. At present, Russia has almost 2,000 of these, about 10 times as many as the United States, according to the most cited non-governmental estimates.

About half of the approximately 200 US short-range weapons are believed to be deployed in five NATO countries in Europe: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – although the US does not confirm or deny their locations. During wartime, Allied planes would take off from these places and fly toward their targets before dropping bombs.

Two other NATO members, France and the United Kingdom, also have their own nuclear arsenals. They have several hundred nuclear weapons each – much fewer than the nuclear superpowers. France has both submarine-launched nuclear missiles and aircraft-fired nuclear missile missiles; Britain has only submarine-launched nuclear weapons. Both countries have publicly revealed the size and nature of their arsenals, but neither country is or has been a party to US-Russia arms control agreements.

The United States, Britain and France protect other NATO allies during their “nuclear umbrellasIn line with NATO’s commitment that an attack on an ally will be seen as an attack on the entire Alliance.

China nuclear arsenal is currently about the same size as the British and French arsenals. But it is growing rapidly, and some US officials fear that China will do so seeking parity with the United States. China, France and the United Kingdom are not subject to arms control agreements.

India, Pakistan and Israel have dozens of nuclear weapons each. None of them have signed on Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weaponswhere the signatories agree to limit the ownership of nuclear weapons to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who each possessed nuclear weapons before they were signed.

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

There used to be nuclear weapons in other places as well. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the republics that became Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan had former Soviet nuclear weapons in their territory. In exchange for international insurance for their security, all three countries transferred their weapons to Russia.

Fortunately, none of these weapons have been used in war since the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But as recent events remind us, the risk of their use is still a daunting possibility.

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