(CTN News) – Putin has repeatedly warned the West that any attack on Russia could trigger a nuclear response.
Does Putin have nuclear weapons, how many does he have, and how might the U.S. and NATO respond?
Will Putin Go Nuclear?
Putin’s perception of the threat to the Russian state and to his rule will significantly affect the outcome.
When Putin claims 18% of Ukraine as part of Russia, there’s more room for nuclear threats since he can cast any attack on these territories as an attack on Russia itself.
In Russian nuclear doctrine, nuclear strikes are allowed after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons”.
Breaking the post-World War Two nuclear taboo wouldn’t necessarily change the tactical situation on the ground since many Russians live in Ukrainian territory that Putin has declared Russian.
Yuri Fyodorov, a military analyst in Prague, says he’s bluffing. He doesn’t know what will happen in a week or a month when he realizes the war’s lost.”
What Nuclear Weapons Could Be Used?
The Russians haven’t called for a nuclear strike with weapons designed to destroy cities in the U.S., Russia, Europe and Asia.
Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, says Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
These are essentially nuclear weapons used on the battlefield for a “tactical” purpose and they’re much less powerful than the big bombs that would be needed to destroy big cities like Moscow, Washington, and London.
Weapons like these can be dropped from planes, fired from ships and submarines, or detonated on land.
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What Would The United States Do?
In the event of a nuclear attack by Russia, the United States would decide the response.
90% of the world’s nuclear warheads are controlled by Russia and the US. The Soviet Union left Russia its nuclear assets after the Cold War.
Joe Biden’s options include a non-military response, responding with another nuclear strike that would escalate, and responding with a conventional attack that could get Washington into a direct war with Moscow.
Sullivan said Washington warned Moscow of “catastrophic consequences” if it used nuclear weapons.
Who Has The Most Nuclear Weapons?
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads, while the United States has 5,428, so it’s the biggest nuclear power.
Moscow and Washington have enough firepower to destroy the world, including stockpiled warheads.
According to the latest publicly declared data, Russia has 1,458 strategic nuclear warheads deployed. These warheads are on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and strategic bombers.
Russia has about 10 times as many tactical nuclear weapons as the US. Half of the 200 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are in Europe.
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