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"The world is heading for a period of nuclear rearmament"

 At the beginning of 2022, the nine countries with nuclear arsenals had 12,705 nuclear warheads, while the number of nuclear weapons is expected to start growing again in the next decade.


Return of Russia's nuclear "threat" and tensions between the major powers: after 35 years of reduction, the number of nuclear weapons worldwide is expected to begin to increase again in the next decade, according to a report released today .


At the beginning of 2022, the nine countries with nuclear arsenals (Russia, USA, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) had 12,705 nuclear warheads, 375 less than at the beginning of 2021, according to the estimates of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).


Return of Russia's nuclear "threat" and tensions between the major powers: after 35 years of reduction, the number of nuclear weapons worldwide is expected to begin to increase again in the next decade, according to a report released today .


At the beginning of 2022, the nine countries with nuclear arsenals (Russia, USA, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) had 12,705 nuclear warheads, 375 less than at the beginning of 2021, according to the estimates of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).


Since the absolute record of 1986 (over 70,000 heads), this total has increased fivefold thanks to the steady reduction of the huge nuclear arsenals of the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. Moscow and Washington, however, continue to own 90% of the world's nuclear arsenal.


But the era of nuclear disarmament seems to be coming to an end and the risk of nuclear escalation is now at a higher level than any other post-Cold War period, according to a report by the Swedish Research Center.


"Soon we will reach a point where, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of nuclear weapons in the world may begin to rise, and this is a really dangerous phenomenon," Matt Corda told AFP. from the authors of the report.


Following last year's "marginal" decline, the world's nuclear arsenal is expected to grow "in the next decade", according to SIPRI.


The war in Ukraine has led to many outspoken references by the Russian president to the possible use of nuclear weapons, while several countries, including China and Britain, have begun formal or informal plans to modernize or expand their arsenals.


"It will be very difficult to make progress on disarmament in the years to come because of this war and the way Putin is talking about his nuclear weapons," Korda said.


According to him, these worrying statements push "many other nuclear-armed forces to reconsider their own strategies" in their use.


Doubling the Chinese arsenal?

Although the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in early 2021, after ratification by more than 50 countries, and despite the extension of the Russian-American START Treaty for five years, the situation has already deteriorated in recent years, SIPRI notes. amid concerns over Iran's nuclear program and the development of supersonic missiles, even more difficult to contain.


The decline in the total number of weapons is due only to the destruction of Russian and American nuclear warheads "which were withdrawn from service many years ago" and the number of weapons considered operational remains "relatively stable".


According to the latest SIPRI estimates, Russia remains the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with 5,997 warheads (–280 a year), deployed, stored or to be destroyed by early 2022. Nearly 1,600 of them are operational, appreciates the Institute.


The US has 5,428 warheads (-120), but more developed nuclear weapons (1,750). They are followed by China (350), France (290), Britain (225), Pakistan (165), India (160) and Israel (90), the only country out of nine that does not officially admit to having nuclear weapons. arms.


As for North Korea, SIPRI estimates for the first time that the Kim Jong Un regime has 20 nuclear warheads. Pyongyang has enough fissile material to make another fifty.


Despite the diplomatic announcements, "all states equipped with nuclear weapons are increasing or modernizing their arsenals, and most are hardening their rhetoric about them and the role of nuclear weapons in their military strategies," SIPRI said.


"In China, a large increase in nuclear arsenal is underway, with satellite imagery indicating the construction of more than 300 new missile silos," the institute said.


According to the US Pentagon, Beijing may have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027.


According to APE-MPE, Britain announced last year that it would increase the ceiling of its nuclear arsenal and that it would no longer disclose the number of its nuclear weapons that are operational. France also launched a new nuclear submarine program in 2021, while India, Pakistan and Israel also appear to be developing their arsenals, according to SIPRI.


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