A leading conflict and armaments think tank said on Monday that the world’s nuclear arsenal is set to increase in coming years for the first time since the Cold War.
It was pointed out that after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the risk of such weapons being used is the highest in decades.
In a new round of research, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank says the Ukraine crisis has heightened tensions between the world’s nine nuclear-weapon states.
According to SIPRI, global stocks of warheads could soon begin to rise for the first time in decades unless immediate action is taken by the nuclear powers.
The Stockholm-based Institute, founded in 1966, found that the number of nuclear weapons fell slightly between January 2021 and January 2022.
During this period, 3,732 warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, and about 2,000, most of which belonged to the United States and Russia.
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Wilfred Wan, director of SIPRI’s weapons of mass destruction program, said in the think tank’s 2022 yearbook: “All nuclear-weapon states are increasing or improving their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and role that nuclear weapons play in their military strategies.”
Shedding light on the expansion of China’s arsenal with approximately more than 300 new missile silos, SIPRI said Russia and the United States possess more than 90% of the world’s warheads.
Russia, which has 550 more nuclear weapons than the United States, has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world with a total of 5,977 warheads.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has put the country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert after his attack on Ukraine, which he calls a “special military operation”.
Any country that stands in Russia’s way has consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history”, according to Putin.
SIPRI Board Chairman and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said: “Relations between the world’s great powers have deteriorated further at a time when humanity and the planet are facing a series of challenges. deep and urgent commonalities that can only be addressed through international cooperation”.
(With agency contributions)
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