How many nukes does Russia have: How far is UK, USA and France from Russia?

Ukraine: Michael Gove predicts 'no happy outcome' for Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin justified his decision to increase the risk alert of Moscow’s deterrent weapons – including nuclear forces – after what he deemed to be “aggressive statements” from the West. Although these haven’t been used during the war in Ukraine, Russia’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed the use of heavily regulated thermobaric weapons.

The UK’s own Ministry of Defence (MoD) said last week that Russia had used its TOS-1A Heavy Flamethrower weapon system.

These firearms allow rockets with thermobaric warheads to be launched from tanks, which suck oxygen from surrounding air to create a high-temperature explosion upon detonation.

In a video posted on Twitter, the MoD said: “The impact of the TOS-1A is devastating. It can destroy infrastructure, and cause significant damage to internal organs and flash burns, resulting in death to those exposed.”

Use of thermobaric weapons against civilians, or military targets that could endanger the civilian population, is banned under the Geneva Convention.

How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?

All figures are estimates, but according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Russia has the largest supply of nuclear weapons in the world.

Moscow owns approximately 4,447 warheads – the devices that trigger a nuclear explosion – of which 1,588 are deployed on ballistic missiles and heavy bomber bases.

A further 977 strategic warheads and 1,912 nonstrategic warheads are kept in reserve by the Kremlin.

Hans M Kristensen and Matt Korda, writing for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “Of the stockpiled warheads, approximately 1,588 strategic warheads are deployed: about 812 on land-based ballistic missiles, about 576 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and possibly 200 at heavy bomber bases.”

How far is the UK, US and France from Russia?

The UK, US and France are among the most powerful members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and could likely be targeted if a nuclear war were to break out.

So far, the alliance has been cautious in its response to President Putin’s invasion to help prevent the war from escalating beyond Ukraine’s borders.

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By plane, there is 2,500km (1,554 miles) between London and Moscow.

Paris, which is located slightly further east of London, is separated from Moscow by 2,486km (1,545 miles).

Meanwhile, the distance between Washington DC and Russia’s capital is 7,825km (4,862 miles).

If a nuclear weapon was aimed at the British Isles, the US Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) – also known as the ‘star wars’ defence – could be used to intercept and destroy it.

The system was set up in 1984 under then president Ronald Reagan, while the US and Soviet Union were still engaged in the Cold War.

Alternatively, the Government might opt to make use of the military’s Type 45 destroyer vessels, which could use their defensive capabilities to fend off any nuclear attack.

For example, if it was deemed necessary, these ships could be placed in the Thames Estuary to defend London and the surrounding areas.

Since April 1969, the Royal Navy has maintained continuous at sea deterrence, with at least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine patrolling the seas undetected at all times.

Their fundamental purpose is to preserve peace, prevent coercion, and deter aggression.

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