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Is the Nuclear Armageddon imminent?

Monday news that global spending on nuclear weapons increased by 13 percent further fueled fears that the world is heading for a nuclear apocalypse.

Izvor: Blic, Guardian, Newsweek

Is the Nuclear Armageddon imminent?
Shutterstock/Romolo Tavani


Namely, according to data from the "International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons" (ICAN), global allocations for nuclear weapons rose to a record 91.4 billion dollars in 2023.

According to ICAN data, all nine world nuclear powers have increased spending on nuclear weapons. After the USA allocated 51.5 billion dollars, China allocated 11.9 billion dollars. The third in order is Russia with 8.3 billion dollars, Great Britain allocated 8.1 billion, and France allocated 6.1 billion dollars, the Guardian's Flash reported.

Over the past five years, global allocations for nuclear weapons have increased by 34 percent or 23.2 billion dollars. During that period, the allocation of the USA increased by 45 percent, and Britain by 43 percent, and according to current trends, it will exceed 100 billion dollars in 2024, according to the Guardian.

Other figures, compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), show that the number of active nuclear warheads is also slightly higher - 9,585 - mainly because China has increased its arsenal from 410 to 500.

The largest nuclear powers remain - as they have been since the 1950s - the USA and Russia, which possess about 90 percent of all warheads. Russia has 4,380 nuclear warheads - deployed or in storage - compared to the US's 3,708, the Cyprus researchers said.

It is estimated that "Russia has deployed about 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023," the Cyprus researchers said, adding that there is no hard evidence that Moscow has deployed any of its nuclear missiles in Belarus, despite public statements by Russian and Belarusian President Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko.

The British nuclear arsenal is unchanged at 225, as is the French at 290, estimates show. However, Britain announced three years ago that it would raise the upper limit on the number of warheads it is willing to stockpile to 260.

NATO’s nuclear warheads - Combat-ready

As spending rises, NATO members are considering putting the alliance's nuclear warheads on alert

"I will not go into the operational details of how many nuclear warheads should be in combat readiness, but we must consult on these issues. That is exactly what we are doing," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the British Telegraph.

He said that NATO must show its nuclear arsenal to the world to send a clear signal to the alliance's enemies. He indicated that China is actively investing in its nuclear arsenal, which, according to him, will grow to a thousand warheads in the early 2030s.

"This means that NATO, shortly, will probably be faced with something it has not faced before – two potential adversaries with nuclear weapons, China and Russia. And, of course, this has its consequences," Stoltenberg said.

Putin's military doctrine

During the war in Ukraine, the president of Russia repeatedly mentioned the possibility of nuclear Armageddon, writes He accused the NATO countries of deliberately wanting to escalate the war with their military support for Kiev. Putin has warned Western leaders to risk a direct conflict with Russia that could lead to World War III and all that that entails.

The scenarios in which Russia could theoretically use nuclear weapons are listed in the Russian military doctrine and in the "Fundamentals of State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence". According to those documents, this would be possible in the case of aggression against Russia or its allies using weapons of mass destruction, or aggression using conventional weapons when the existence of the state itself is threatened.

But Putin may be planning to change Russia's nuclear doctrine amid the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg earlier this month, Putin mentioned Russia's nuclear doctrine, state-run RIA Novosti reported.

"This doctrine is a living instrument, and we are carefully watching what is happening in the world, around us, and we do not rule out making some changes in this doctrine," he said, adding that he "doesn't think such a case has arisen," Newsweek reported.

Putin also said that Russia's nuclear power exceeds that used against Japan in World War II and warned that Russia could retaliate if it believed that Western countries had directly interfered in the war.

"In the end, if we see that these countries have joined the war against us, we reserve the right to act in the same way. This leads to serious problems. If someone thinks that it is possible to supply a war zone with such weapons to attack our territory and create problems for us, why don't we have the right to do the same," he said.


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