President Putin has actually put Russia's nuclear forces on "special" alert, raising concerns around the world.But experts recommend his actions should most likely be interpreted as an alerting to other nations not to intensify their participation in Ukraine, instead of signalling any desire to utilize nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons have existed for almost 80 years and lots of nations see them as a deterrent that continues to ensure their national security.
How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?
All figures for nuclear weapons are estimates, according to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads - the devices that set off a nuclear surge - though this includes about 1,500 that are retired and set to be dismantled.
Of the remaining 4,500 approximately, the majority of are thought about strategic nuclear weapons - ballistic missiles, or rockets, which can be targeted over fars away. These are the weapons generally associated with nuclear war.
The rest are smaller sized, less harmful nuclear weapons for short-range use on battlegrounds or at sea.But this does not mean Russia has countless long-range nuclear weapons all set to go.
Specialists estimate around 1,500 Russian warheads are presently "released", implying sited at missile and bomber bases or on submarines at sea.
How does this compare to other countries?
9 countries have nuclear weapons: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United States and the UK.
China, France, Russia, the US and the UK are also amongst 191 states signed up to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Under the agreement, they have to minimize their stockpile of nuclear warheads and, in theory, are committed to their complete removal.
And it has decreased the number of warheads kept in those countries since the 1970 and 80s.India, Israel and Pakistan never joined the NPT - and North Korea left in 2003.
Israel is the only country of the 9 never ever to have formally acknowledged its nuclear programme - however it is extensively accepted to have nuclear warheads.Ukraine has no nuclear weapons and, despite allegations by President Putin, there is no evidence it has actually tried to obtain them.
How harmful are nuclear weapons?
Nuclear weapons are created to trigger optimum devastation.The extent of the destruction depends upon a series of aspects, consisting of:
- the size of the warhead
- how high in the air it detonates
- the local environment
- However even the smallest warhead could cause substantial death and enduring repercussions.
The bomb that killed as much as 146,000 people in Hiroshima, Japan, during World War Two, was 15 kilotons.And nuclear warheads today can be more than 1,000 kilotons.
Little is anticipated to make it through in the immediate impact zone of a nuclear explosion.After a blinding flash, there is a big fireball and blast wave that can damage structures and structures for a number of kilometres.
What does 'nuclear deterrent' indicate and has it worked?
The argument for preserving great deals of nuclear weapons has actually been having the capability to entirely ruin your enemy would prevent them from attacking you.The most famous term for this became equally ensured destruction (Mad).
Though there have been many nuclear tests and a continuous increase in their technical complexity and devastating power, nuclear weapons have actually not been utilized in an armed fight since 1945.
Russian policy likewise acknowledges nuclear weapons exclusively as a deterrent and lists four cases for their usage:the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation or its allies
the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction against the Russian Federation or its allies
an attack on vital governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation that threatens its nuclear capability
hostility against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very presence of the state is in jeopardy.
How anxious should we be?
The likelihood of nuclear dispute might have gone up somewhat however remains low.Even if Putin's risk is indicated as a caution instead of signalling any current desire to use the weapons, there is always the threat of miscalculation if one side misinterprets the other or occasions get out of hand.