Russia is the world's largest nuclear power, and on Sunday its leader, Vladimir Putin, ordered a "special state of emergency" to put the country's "deterrent weapons" on alert. Putin has literally not spoken directly about nuclear weapons, and it remains unknown to anyone outside the Russian leadership what exactly the terms "special state of war" and "deterrent weapons" mean.
In practice, everyone understands that Putin is threatening the West, declaring his readiness to use nuclear weapons in Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine. The United States has already called the reference to nuclear weapons, even indirectly, "unacceptable", while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned Putin "not to make the tragic mistake of using nuclear weapons."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said a nuclear strike would be "catastrophic for the whole world." Putin's order was given shortly after it was announced that a meeting of representatives from Russia and Ukraine would take place for negotiations. We see this order as an attempt to raise the tone and put additional pressure on the Ukrainian negotiators.
"But we are not going to give up. We will approach the talks with a very simple approach. "We are going to listen to what Russia has to say to us, and we will give our opinion on everything that is happening."
Analysts say Putin is talking about nuclear weapons because he is essentially acknowledging that conventional weapons are not going to conquer Ukraine - or at least not as quickly as the Russian leader expected. At the same time, however, it is precisely because of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian armed forces that knowledge has become established that Putin is capable of everything and does not make threats that he is unwilling to carry out.
So how close is humanity to nuclear catastrophe, which may start with Putin's aggressive actions against Russia's neighbors, but can spread rapidly with the involvement of the United States and other nuclear powers in an ecumenical war.
At the moment, the only fact is that Vladimir Putin, according to his own statement, has instructed the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, to raise the level of readiness of Russia's nuclear weapons.
In particular, the statement made by the President of Russia, according to the state news agency TASS, is as follows: "Senior officials of the top NATO countries also make aggressive statements against our country. "I therefore ordered the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces to deploy the deterrent forces of the Russian Army to the special state of war readiness."
Tobias Elwood, chairman of the British Parliament's defense committee, commented that "in the worst case, Putin will use light nuclear weapons if his army fails to occupy Ukraine. And allies in the West will have to think from now on how they will react if Putin resorts to nuclear weapons. "It may also throw weapons into battle that have not been tested or are unusual for us Westerners, such as chemical or light nuclear weapons."
The White House's outrage at Putin's threats was expressed by US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who said: "Putin's statement means that he continues to escalate this war in a way that is completely unacceptable. . We must continue to condemn his actions in the most dynamic way possible. "
Although the exact number of nuclear-armed weapons is a state secret, it is estimated that Russia has more than half of the world's nuclear weapons. That's a total of 14.000, and Putin has more than 7.000 of them linked to the infamous "red button."
But perhaps these types of weapons are even more frightening, beyond their numerical number. It is known, after all, that the Russians had built the most powerful nuclear bomb in the world, the infamous "Tsar Bomba". It appeared in the early 1960s and its power exceeds 50 megatons. However, in 2015, rumors circulated that Russia was preparing an upgraded version of the Tsar Bomba, with twice the destructive power than the original.
But in addition to the Tsar Bomba and some state-of-the-art nuclear torpedoes, the Russians have the Status-6 system, which can cause a tsunami up to 500 meters high. And, as this colossal wave will be radioactive, it will contaminate the enemy's shoreline, turning it into a dead zone. Also, the Status-6 can not be intercepted by rival anti-missile defense systems.