- Only nine countries control the world's roughly 12,700 nuclear warheads, according to The Federation of American Scientists (FAS)
- As of 2022, FAS says Russia has the highest nuclear warhead inventories: 5,977.
- After invading Ukraine, Putin ordered Russia's nuclear forces to be on high alert, prompting concern from world leaders.
Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there has been an increased concern about the risk of a nuclear war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country's nuclear forces to an increased state of readiness just a few days after invading Ukraine and threatened Western countries with "consequences greater than any you have faced in history" if they become involved.
While President Joe Biden has said Americans shouldn't be concerned about nuclear war, Pentagon officials have reportedly sought to establish a backchannel to Russian military chiefs to prevent the invasion from escalating to a nuclear conflict.
Kim threatens to use nukes amid tensions with US, S. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he’s ready to use his nuclear weapons in potential military conflicts with the United States and South Korea, state media said Thursday, as he unleashed fiery rhetoric against rivals he says are pushing the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. Kim’s speech to war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War were apparently meant to boost internal unity in the impoverished country suffering pandemic-related economic difficulties.
Executive director of the Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball recently told The Associated Press that "the United States, President Biden, and NATO must act with extreme restraint."
"This is a very dangerous moment in this crisis, and we need to urge our leaders to walk back from the nuclear brink," Kimball said.
Nine countries, including the US, have stockpiled nuclear weapons for decades, but the number of inventory has been slowly decreasing worldwide, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a Washington, DC-based global policy think tank.
A few years after the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan during World War II — the only time nuclear weapons have been used in combat — Russia began developing its own nuclear capabilities. The United Kingdom, France, and China followed soon thereafter, according to FAS.
By the 1960s, it was becoming apparent for world leaders, and the public at large, that a future in which dozens of countries build and test nuclear weapons would not be safe for the world. This led to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968, which was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. A handful of countries, including Israel and North Korea, have not signed on to the agreement, according to FAS.
North Korea's Kim threatens to use nuclear weapons amid tensions with U.S.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he's ready to use his nuclear weapons in potential military conflicts with the United States and South Korea.Kim’s speech to war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War was apparently meant to boost internal unity in the impoverished country amid pandemic-related economic difficulties. While Kim has increasingly threatened his rivals with nuclear weapons, it’s unlikely that he would use them first against the superior militaries of the U.S. and its allies, observers say.
The treaty, however, has been largely successful. But the potential use of nuclear weapons between hostile nations continues to threaten international peace.
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