The number of deployable nuclear weapons around the world is increasing

The number of nuclear weapons ready for use worldwide increased again last year. Warships are being discarded and the number of nuclear weapons has been declining for decades, the Stockholm peace research institute SIPRI wrote in its annual report released on Monday. At the same time, more warships were kept ready for use. The number of nuclear weapons under development has also increased.

Of the estimated 12,121 warships worldwide as of January 2024, about 9,585 warships were in military stockpile for potential use. Some 3,904 of these warships are equipped with rockets and aircraft – 60 more than in January 2023. The rest are in central warehouses, the report said.

Experts expect this trend to continue and accelerate in the coming years, which is “very worrying.” According to SIPRI, nine countries possess nuclear weapons. The leaders are the United States and Russia. Their stockpiles contain 90 percent of all nuclear weapons. Great Britain is in third place, followed by France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. For the first time, China is expected to keep some warships on high alert.

SIPRI experts criticize the decline in transparency regarding the nuclear forces of the two frontline countries after the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine in February 2022. “Not since the Cold War have we seen nuclear weapons play such a central role in international relations,” said Wilfred Vaughn, head of SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program.

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