“Everyone knows that World War III can only be nuclear, but it is in the minds of Western politicians, not the Russians,” the foreign minister warned on Thursday. Russia, Sergei Lavrov. But the comment comes three weeks after the same minister blamed the possibility of an invasion of Ukraine on Western “war hysteria”.
Lavrov’s report raises the question of what Russia’s nuclear weapons are, its destructive power and who could ultimately decide to launch an attack.
Russia today has the largest number of nuclear weapons, with an estimated 6,000. The reference to the power of that arsenal was that the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, the Little Boy, had a power of 15 kilotons, and any current warships could exceed any 1,000 kilotons.
That force would be enough to cause total destruction within a radius of 18 km from the eruption site, severe destruction at 30 km, severe damage at 50 km and general damage up to 80 km.
In the face of this enormous destructive force, the five major powers that have so far held these weapons in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France, as well as India, Pakistan and Israel, with the sole intention of not encouraging any attack against their country. No country has threatened to reuse it, as the United States did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
But President Vladimir Putin on Sunday noted for the first time that his nuclear defense forces were on high alert.
Who can activate the “nuclear button” in the Russian Federation?
In June 2020, the Kremlin approved a document that is most relevant today Basic policies of the State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation. It is established there in which cases and in what way that option will be implemented.
The text points out that “the government’s policy on nuclear non-proliferation is defensive,” so it only acts in response to a threat from another country, but clarifies a confusing paragraph “this policy in the event of a military conflict”. [la de utilización de armas nucleares] Provides to prevent an increase in military operations and to complete them under conditions acceptable to the Russian Federation. It also makes it clear that the enemy does not have to have the potential to retaliate with a nuclear bomb. It is sufficient to have “assault weapons (ballistic and cruise missiles, hypersonic aerial vehicles, assault unmanned aerial vehicles), propelled energy weapons, anti-missile defense assets, early warning systems”.
As for who can press the “red button”, the decision to use nuclear weapons was “made by the President of the Russian Federation”. But to carry out his nuclear briefcase or “secate” (in Russian) encrypted codes, the head of state needs two other briefcases in the possession of the Minister of Defense and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both “directly plan and execute corporate and military operations in the field of nuclear deterrence”.
So the decision to launch a nuclear attack on the Russian Federation is taken collectively President And their military leaders.
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