How many nukes does Russia have as Putin threatens again

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Vladimir Putin issued a thinly veiled nuclear threat to the West and said he was prepared to use “all means” at his disposal to protect Russiaterritorial acquisitions in Ukraine.

The Russian president insisted it was no “bluff” as he ordered a partial mobilization and called up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine on Wednesday as his forces continue to face major battlefield setbacks.

He claimed that the West was engaged in “nuclear blackmail” and that Moscow had “plenty of weapons to respond”. Several Western countries have been sending Ukraine money and weapons to support its war effort.

Some analysts say the threats should be interpreted as a warning to the West not to escalate its involvement in Ukraine, rather than indicating any desire to actually use them.

Russian Topol-M nuclear missile near the Kremlin

(Getty Images)

World leaders including British Prime Minister Liz Truss and US President Joe Biden criticized Putin’s comments as they reaffirmed their support for Kiev at a United Nations meeting in New York.

It is not the first time that Mr. Putin has engaged in posturing nuclear weapons. During the first weekend of the war in February, he put the nation’s forces with strategic nuclear weapons on high alert. He issued another warning in March, responding to what he described as an “aggressive statement” by the NATO military alliance.

Experts say that all estimates of how many nuclear weapons a country has are just that – estimates. But according to the Federation of American Scientists, Moscow has 5,977 nuclear warheads – devices that trigger a nuclear explosion.

That figure, however, includes about 1,500 that have been retired and are due to be dismantled, FAS says.

Russia is said to have nearly 6,000 warheads

(Getty Images)

Most of the remaining 4,500 or so are considered strategic nuclear weapons – ballistic missiles or missiles that can be targeted at long distances. It is a weapon usually associated with nuclear war.

In his televised address on WednesdayPutin said about 300,000 reservists, especially those with active duty experience, would be called up to fight in Ukraine.

“We are talking about partial mobilization, which means that only citizens who are currently in reserve, and especially those who served in the armed forces, have a certain military specialty and relevant experience, will be called up,” Putin said.

His speech alarmed many around the world and caused thousands of Russians to try to flee the country, with one-way flights from Russia reportedly sold out.

It came a day after separatist regions in eastern and southern Ukraine under Russian control announced plans to hold elections to become part of the Russian Federation.

Referendums are expected to start on Friday in Luhansk, Kherson and parts of the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions.

On Thursday morning, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to double down on Putin’s nuclear threat, saying the weapons in Moscow’s arsenal could be used to defend Russian-annexed territories from Ukraine.

Medvedev, who is also the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said the referendums planned by Russia-installed separatist authorities would take place on large parts of Ukrainian territory, adding that there was “no turning back”.

“The Western establishment and all citizens of NATO countries in general must understand that Russia has chosen its path,” he said.

Ukraine and Western leaders have called the referendums fake and said the results of the vote will not be recognized.

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