These Global Superpowers Have The Most Nukes

( – The countries with the largest number of nuclear weapons are Russia, China, and the United States with the U.S. and Russia being the largest shareholders with nearly 90% of the planet’s nukes split between the two countries. China is attempting to catch up under President Xi Jinping’s desire to see China become a global superpower to rival the U.S. by 2050.

A graphic displaying the relative numbers of nukes held by various countries who report them to international authorities is available here.

Russia is estimated to possess 5,580 nuclear warheads. The tally includes 1,200 soon to be decommissioned due to their age and 2,670 kept in reserve. These are believed to be warheads and not short-ranged strategic nukes, limiting Moscow’s ability to use them in the field if at all. Roughly 1,710 were deployed around the country following tensions with Europe over Ukraine. There is a limit to how many they can have ready to launch as a signatory to the START treaties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a round of military exercises involving the use of tactical nuclear weapons in May after “provocative statements and threats” originated from Western leaders.

The U.S. is believed to possess 5,044 nukes including 1,336 that are decommissioned and awaiting disassembly. The remaining stockpile includes 1,938 in reserve, and 100 deployed at military installations with short-ranged capability. There are additionally 1,670 deployed warheads attached to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or ready to be hooked up to long-range bomber aircraft, depending on the need.

The U.S. and Russia both ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019 which was signed in 1987 over claims the Russians weren’t complying. After the U.S. abandoned the treaty, Russia followed suit.

China’s stockpile of nuclear weapons has doubled since 2020 according to the Department of Defense. They’re estimated to currently possess roughly 500 nuclear warheads with the potential for 700 by 2027 and 1,000 or more by 2030, according to Pentagon warnings.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute suggested that China may have deployed nuclear weapons for the first time and had them effectively ready to launch. There are 24 warheads with the potential to be deployed quickly. China has previously agreed to never use its weapons in a first-strike and encourages similar behavior from international partners like Russia and the U.S.

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