Frustrated by Ukrainians' resilience and a lack of progress by the Russian forces, President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, February 27, put Russia’s nuclear arms on high alert.
However, a report by BBC stated that Putin's announcement does not mean Russia intends to use the weapons.
Analysts were cited as suggesting that Putin's actions should probably be interpreted as a warning to other countries not to escalate their involvement in Ukraine,
Nevertheless, in a swift reaction, the United States accused Putin of “totally unacceptable” escalation and made clear that it would keep up its support of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, The Guardian reported.
Also, the move by President Putin raised concerns around the world about which country has what nuclear weapon.
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What is a nuclear weapon?
Nuclear weapon, according to Oxford Languages, is simply a bomb or missile that uses nuclear energy to cause an explosion.
According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, "nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on earth.
"One can destroy a whole city, potentially killing millions, and jeopardizing the natural environment and lives of future generations through its long-term catastrophic effects."
The UN stated that nuclear weapons have only been used twice in warfare in the world; in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Nevertheless, the organisation stated that about 13,400 reportedly remain in the world today and there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted to date.
Countries that have nuclear weapons
Nine countries have nuclear weapons, according to a report by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
The nine countries are said to have about 12,700 warheads as of early 2022, with Russia and the United States owning more than 90% of the warheads.
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Here are the countries and the warheads they possess:
- Russia - 5,977
- United States - 5,428
- China - 350
- France - 290
- United Kingdom - 225
- Pakistan - 165
- India - 160
- Israel - 90
- North Korea - 20
UN Resolution: Countries that voted for, against Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the United Nations on Wednesday, March 2, voted overwhelmingly for a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UN in its resolution also called for the immediate withdrawal of its forces, in a global expression of outrage that highlighted Russia’s increasing isolation.
At the emergency session of the UN general assembly, 141 voted to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, five countries voted against the resolution while 35 abstained.