Think tank says global nuclear arsenal to grow for first time since Cold War
A leading conflict and armaments think-tank said on Monday that the global nuclear arsenal is expected to grow in the coming years for the first time since the Cold War.
It has been highlighted that after Russia's invasion of Ukraine the risk of such weapons being used is the greatest in decades.
In a new set of research, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank said has said that the Ukraine crisis has heightened tensions among the world's nine nuclear-armed states.
Global inventories of warheads could soon begin rising for the first time in decades unless immediate action was taken by the nuclear powers according to SIPRI.
The Stockholm-based Institute, which was founded in 1966, has revealed the number of nuclear weapons fell slightly between January 2021 and January 2022.
In this duration, 3,732 warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, and around 2,000, most of which belonged to the US and Russia.
Wilfred Wan, Director of SIPRI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, said in the think-tank's 2022 yearbook, "All of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies."
Shedding light on China's expansion of its arsenal with an estimated more than 300 new missile silos, SIPRI said that Russia and the United States possess more than 90 per cent of the world's warheads.
Russia, which has 550 more nuclear weapons than the United States, has the world's biggest nuclear arsenal with a total of 5,977 warheads.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has put the country's nuclear deterrent on high alert, after his attack on Ukraine, which he calls a "special military operation".
Any country that stood in Russia's way, face have consequences "such as you have never seen in your entire history", according to Putin.
SIPRI board chairman and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said, "Relations between the world's great powers have deteriorated further at a time when humanity and the planet face an array of profound and pressing common challenges that can only be addressed by international cooperation."