Nuclear rearmament which advances as the world descends into war worries – rts.ch

Nuclear rearmament which advances as the world descends into war worries – rts.ch
Nuclear rearmament which advances as the world descends into war worries – rts.ch

With geopolitical tensions rising around the world, nuclear powers are modernizing their arsenals, researchers said Monday, urging world leaders to “step back and think.”

“Not since the Cold War have nuclear weapons played such an important role in international relations,” said Wilfred Wan, director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction program at the International Peace Research Institute in New York. Stockholm (Sipri).

The nine nuclear-armed states – Russia, the United States, France, India, China, Israel, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and North Korea – have all modernized their nuclear arsenals and several of them deployed new systems in 2023.

>> Read also: What would be the (terrible) consequences of a nuclear war?

12,121 nuclear warheads worldwide

As of January, of the world’s 12,121 existing nuclear warheads, approximately 9,585 were available for potential use. Some 2,100 of them were kept on “high operational alert” for ballistic missiles.

Almost all of these nuclear warheads belong to Russia and the United States, which alone possess 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.

For the first time, Sipri also estimates that China has “a few warheads on high operational alert” – that is to say ready for immediate use.

>> Also listen to the interview with Marc Finaud in the 12:30 p.m.:

Increase in spending on nuclear weapons around the world: interview with Marc Finaud / 12:30 p.m. / 2 min. / today at 12:39

“One of the most dangerous periods in human history”

“We are currently living through one of the most dangerous periods in human history,” warned Dan Smith, director of Sipri.

“The sources of instability are numerous: political rivalries, economic inequalities, ecological disruptions, acceleration of the arms race. The abyss awaits us and it is time for the great powers to step back and reflect. Preferably together” .

In February 2023, Russia announced that it was suspending its participation in the New START treaty – “the last control treaty (…) limiting the strategic nuclear forces of Russia and the United States”.

Sipri also noted that Moscow conducted exercises involving tactical nuclear weapons on the Ukrainian border in May 2024.

Even though “the total number of nuclear warheads continues to decline as Cold War era weapons are gradually dismantled”, an increase in the “number of operational nuclear warheads” is observed from year to year from the part of the nuclear powers, lamented the director of Sipri.

He added that this trend would continue and “probably accelerate” in the years to come.

afp/fgn

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