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Putin will spark a global nuclear arms race if he goes mad and nukes Ukraine, top aide warns

Vladimir Putin will spark a worldwide nuclear arms race if he drops the bomb on Ukraine, one among Volodymyr Zelensky’s high aides has warned. 

Mikhailo Podolyak, a key advisor to Ukraine’s president, mentioned nuclear-armed states wanted to cease Russia performing on threats to nuke the second-largest European nation.

Mr Podolyak instructed The Telegraph: ‘Vladimir Putin has gone to battle towards a non-nuclear state. He cannot win a traditional battle so he threatens to make use of nuclear weapons.

‘If he will get away with it, each non-nuclear state will say: “I will get the bomb”.’

Vladimir Putin (pictured) will spark a worldwide nuclear arms race if he drops the bomb on Ukraine, one among Volodymyr Zelensky’s high aides has warned

Russia test-launches one of its new Sarmat nuclear missiles, which it claims can carry up to 15 warheads, strike any country on earth, and cannot be stopped by current defences

Russia test-launches one among its new Sarmat nuclear missiles, which it claims can carry as much as 15 warheads, strike any nation on earth, and can’t be stopped by present defences

He continued: ‘Nuclear weapons would be the solely assure for nationwide defence. Or, quite the opposite: it is going to be proven you should utilize the bomb aggressively.

‘At that time it’s not our downside. It’s a world downside. It’s a downside for the world’s nuclear powers. It’s the finish of nuclear deterrence.’

Mr Podolyak additionally vowed that Ukraine would proceed its counter-offensive towards Russia.

A staunch ally of Putin yesterday insisted Russia will use its largest and most-powerful nukes to defend the territory it occupies in Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, who served as a stand-in for Putin from 2008 to 2012, vowed the territories will develop into a part of Russia when referendums are held this week – after which ‘any Russian weapons’ might be used to defend them. 

That features ‘strategic nuclear weapons’ resembling Putin’s big new Sarmat missile, Medvedev mentioned, and ‘weapons primarily based on new rules’ – seemingly a reference to hypersonic know-how that the Kremlin claims is invulnerable to air defences.

‘The Western institution [and] all residents of the NATO nations want to know that Russia has chosen its personal path. There isn’t a approach again,’ he added.

It comes after it was reported that armed police are going door-to-door whereas gun-toting mercenaries are guarding polling stations as Russia phases sham referendums in occupied Ukraine. 

Dmitry Medvedev, head of the Russian security council, said Russia's hypersonic weapons could strike the West as he issued new threat today

Dmitry Medvedev, head of the Russian safety council, mentioned Russia’s hypersonic weapons might strike the West as he issued new menace as we speak

‘Voting’ is now underway in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia areas on whether or not or to not develop into provinces of Russia – with the outcomes fastened by Moscow. 

However, simply to make further positive, Kremlin officers, navy police and employed weapons are holding a cautious eye over the method – with Ukrainian politicians reporting that they’re kicking entrance doorways in to power individuals to solid their ballots.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of occupied Luhansk, mentioned some cities below Russian occupation have been completely sealed off to make sure individuals vote – with any crosses within the ‘no’ column recorded in a ‘pocket book’.

In the meantime state media has reported an unfeasibly excessive 97 per cent of individuals in two of these areas – Donetsk and Luhansk – are in favour of becoming a member of Russia. 

Poll containers have additionally been opened throughout Russia itself, ostensibly to permit displaced Ukrainians to vote, however in actuality supply extra alternatives for vote rigging.

Western leaders have declared the referenda to be a sham, saying they haven’t any legitimacy whereas urging different governments to not recognise the outcomes. 

A Russian mercenary wearing the symbol of the notorious Wagner military group stands guard outside a polling station in occupied Ukraine

A Russian mercenary carrying the image of the infamous Wagner navy group stands guard exterior a polling station in occupied Ukraine

Russian state media has issued implausible polling which suggests 97 per cent of people in Donetsk and Luhansk are in favour of joining Russia

Russian state media has issued implausible polling which suggests 97 per cent of individuals in Donetsk and Luhansk are in favour of becoming a member of Russia

Votes are being held in four areas currently under Russian control - Donetsk and Luhansk, which together make up the Donbas, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia

Votes are being held in 4 areas at present below Russian management – Donetsk and Luhansk, which collectively make up the Donbas, in addition to Kherson and Zaporizhzhia 

Melinda Simmons, the British Ambassador to Ukraine, mentioned that the result of the votes had ‘already been determined’ and described the ‘sham’ referenda as a ‘media train designed to pursue additional an unlawful invasion by Russia’. 

Nevertheless, the votes do nonetheless mark a big second within the battle as a result of it can enable Putin to spin the narrative to his personal people who any Ukrainian assault to try to reclaim these territories is an assault on Russia itself.

That expands the suite of choices he can use in response.

Maybe most worryingly, it opens the trail to utilizing nuclear weapons since Russia’s doctrine permits their use if the existence of the state is threatened.

It might additionally enable Putin to improve his ‘particular navy operation’ to a full-blown battle, increasing his powers to conscript males and punish those that attempt to stop.

This week, he has declared a ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia’s inhabitants and seems intent on forcing a whole bunch of hundreds of males into the navy.

New legal guidelines have prolonged troopers’ contracts indefinitely, which means they can not merely stop if they do not wish to preserve preventing.

Putin’s terrifying nuclear arsenal: ‘Unstoppable’ hypersonic missiles, submarine drones and artillery able to lobbing atomic shells which can be on the despot’s disposal as he threatens the West

ByChris Pleasance for MailOnline

Vladimir Putin has issued a recent nuclear menace to each Ukraine and the West as we speak, vowing to make use of ‘all means obtainable’ to defend ‘the territorial integrity of our motherland, our independence and safety’.

It isn’t the primary time the despotic chief has made the menace. When launching his ‘particular navy operation’ in February, he warned of ‘penalties you will have by no means confronted in historical past’ to anybody who ‘interfered’ with the battle.

However this time, the menace comes as he scrambles to annex occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian mainland – making them, within the Kremlin’s eyes at the very least, Russian soil. That may enable nukes for use, in response to the nation’s Soviet-era doctrine. 

So, within the occasion that Vladimir Putin does resolve to go nuclear, what are his choices? And the way might they be used to strike his enemies? Right here, MailOnline runs down a few of the weapons in his arsenal…


Russia claims a stockpile of 5,977 warheads which – if true – can be the most important nuclear stockpile on the planet.

Of those, an estimated 1,588 are deployed – which means they’re positioned on high of ballistic missiles or saved at heavy bomber bases able to be loaded on to plane.

One other 977 strategic warheads – the most-powerful sort designed to flatten total cities – and 1,912 non-strategic warheads are stored in reserve.

That leaves roughly 1,500 which have been retired from providers and are ready to be dismantled, however might theoretically be introduced again into use within the occasion of a battle.

For comparability, the US claims a stockpile of 5,428 warheads. The UK and France have round 250 every.

Russian road-launched nuclear missiles are paraded through the streets of Moscow during this year's Victory Day parade, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two

Russian road-launched nuclear missiles are paraded by way of the streets of Moscow throughout this yr’s Victory Day parade, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World Conflict Two

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles 

Often known as ICBMs, these are Russia’s most-powerful and longest-range missiles and make up the core of what’s referred to as its ‘strategic deterrence power’. 

Able to carrying dozens of Russia’s most-powerful warheads every and of ranging just about wherever on the planet, these weapons are usually not designed for use in battle.

As a substitute, the sheer terror they encourage is meant to see off any menace to Russia or its management and not using a shot having to be fired – therefore ‘deterrent’.


That is Russia’s largest and most-advanced nuclear missile, designed to exchange the ageing Soviet R-36. 

Putin oversaw a remaining test-launch of the missile shortly earlier than the Ukraine battle started, although it’s not thought any of the missiles have but been deployed.

With a variety of 11,000 miles, in response to the Kremlin, the missiles will be capable to hit each nation on earth from Russia’s bases in distant Siberia.

It’s thought Sarmat can home 10 warheads in its nostril, every of which may be independently guided to a special goal and explode with a yield of 750kiltons. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was simply 15kilotons.

Sarmat can be considered able to carrying Avangard, a ‘hypersonic glide automobile’ saved within the nostril of the missile that delivers the nuclear warhead to its goal.

Not like conventional reentry autos, the Avangard is assumed to have the ability to fly at low altitude and make a number of quick manoeuvres on its technique to a goal – making it a lot tougher to shoot down.


Probably the most-modern ICBM that Russia has in its present arsenal, the RS-24 Yars is able to carrying as much as 4 nuclear warheads with a variety of as much as 7,500miles.

Not like the Sarmat, it makes use of a soild gasoline – which means it’s simpler to move and sooner to launch. It may be launched from silos dug into the bottom, however may also be mounted on a transporter truck.

Yars is the most-modern ICBM currently in use by Russia's strategic nuclear forces, and is capable of carrying four warheads each of which explodes with the force of half a million tons of TNT

Yars is the most-modern ICBM at present in use by Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, and is able to carrying 4 warheads every of which explodes with the power of half 1,000,000 tons of TNT

Within the occasion of nuclear battle, which means the Yars missiles may be dispersed throughout a big space – making the a lot tougher to trace down and destroy earlier than they are often fired.

As soon as exterior the ambiance, Yars launched its warheads which crash again all the way down to earth at 20 instances the velocity of sound and explode with a power of 500kilotons – or 500,000 tons of TNT.

Brief-to-medium vary missiles

Typically known as ‘tactical nukes’, these are weapons which have a lot shorter ranges and far much less {powerful} warheads than their ‘strategic’ cousins. 

These missiles are usually not meant to immolate cities or carry total nations to their knees, however are meant for use in a lot the identical approach as standard bombs – to take out navy targets or kill massive numbers of troopers, solely utilizing fewer missiles or bombs than would in any other case be required.

Because of this, analysts and specialists concern that commanders can be more-likely to make use of these sorts of nukes – though the injury they might trigger remains to be excessive, together with the related fallout.

It’s these ‘tactical’ weapons that most individuals consider Putin would use towards the likes of Ukraine.


The mainstay of Russia’s rocket forces, Putin is already thought to have used a whole bunch of those to bomb Ukraine – solely utilizing standard explosives as an alternative of nuclear.

Iskanders may be armed with thermonuclear warheads, nonetheless, which might explode with a yield of as much as 50kilotons of TNT, in response to Russian state media.

Iskander missiles have been used by Russian in its war against Ukraine (pictured) carrying conventional explosives, but can also be armed with nuclear warheads

Iskander missiles have been utilized by Russian in its battle towards Ukraine (pictured) carrying standard explosives, however may also be armed with nuclear warheads 

They’re largely launched from road-mobile launchers, which means they are often simply moved across the battlefield and fired at comparatively brief discover.

Not like the ICBMs, the Iskander has a variety of simply 300 miles – permitting Putin to strike most of Ukraine and japanese Europe from bases in Russia and Kaliningrad, however not a lot additional. 


Additionally a mainstay of Russia’s missile arsenal, that is one other weapon that has been regularly used to strike targets in Ukraine and has typically been filed flying overhead.

Not like a ballistic missile – which follows an arced trajectory by way of the air – cruise missiles function like planes, utilizing their engines and small wings to fly straight by way of the air earlier than crashing down on a goal. 

The benefit of that is that they fly decrease than ballistic missiles, making them tougher to identify.

Kalibrs may also be launched in quite a few methods – from ships, submarines, jets or street autos – making them extraordinarily versatile. It’s thought they may also be tipped with a thermonuclear warhead. 


One in all Russia’s new ‘hypersonic’ missiles, the Kinzhal makes use of basic ballistic missile know-how however – in contrast to most different ballistics – is launched from a airplane.

Russia is assumed to have specifically modified a model of its MiG-31 jet to hold the missiles, that are recognized to be in use within the skies over Ukraine. 

Kinzhal is an air-launched 'hypersonic' ballistic missile that has also been used against Ukraine with a conventional payload, but can be tipped with a nuke if Putin orders it

Kinzhal is an air-launched ‘hypersonic’ ballistic missile that has additionally been used towards Ukraine with a traditional payload, however may be tipped with a nuke if Putin orders it

The missile can fly as much as 12 instances the velocity of sound, which Putin has claimed makes it ‘unstoppable’ by present missile defence know-how. 

Whereas Russia is at present utilizing Kinzhal missiles to hit Ukraine with standard warheads, they may also be tipped with a nuclear warhead with a 500kiloton yield. 

Ballistic missile submarines

Ballistic submarines, or SSBNs to the navy, are totally different from nuclear subs: The primary are able to carrying nuclear weapons mounted on ballistic missiles. The second are powered by nuclear reactors. Some can do each. 

They’re designed for final secrecy. Whereas ground-launched nukes may be noticed by satellites or enemy radar and be destroyed earlier than they can be utilized, ballistic submarines are a lot tougher to trace and their places stored a intently guarded secret.

The concept is that, within the occasion of nuclear battle, a submarine might pop up wherever, at any time, and launch its missiles earlier than it may be stopped – making it in vital a part of the ‘nuclear deterrent’.


Not technically a submarine, that is truly an underwater drone and is a one-of-a-kind weapon which solely Russia is understood to own.

These craft are nuclear powered, which means they’re near-silent when submerged and may keep underwater for a probably limitless period of time, since they haven’t any crew who have to floor for provides.

Poseidon is a one-of-a-kind nuclear-powered submarine drone that is tipped with a warhead that Russia says can explode with two megatons of force, generating an atomic tidal-wave to irradiate the shoreline of a country

Poseidon is a one-of-a-kind nuclear-powered submarine drone that’s tipped with a warhead that Russia says can explode with two megatons of power, producing an atomic tidal-wave to irradiate the shoreline of a rustic

And, in contrast to different ballistic submarines, Poseidon would not launch nuclear weapons – it’s the nuclear weapon, carrying a thermonuclear warhead in its nostril 

Meaning Poseidon might loiter underwater for years at a time earlier than being guided to its goal, the place Russia claims it could explode with a yield of two megatons – 130 instances the scale of the explosion that levelled Hiroshima.

Putin’s propagandists say this could create a nuclear tsunami that might inundate the coast of whichever nation it focused, leaving it an irradiated wasteland for many years afterwards. 


Russia’s newest ballistic submarine, these are additionally nuclear-powered and armed with 16 Bulava missile able to carrying as much as 10 warheads with a yield of 150kilotons every.

Moscow intends to exchange its total ballistic submarine fleet with these craft, that are designed as a counter to the American Ohio-class.

The Borei-class is Russia's attempt to answer the American Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, and is capable of carrying up to 16 Bulava missiles tipped with 10 nuclear warheads each

The Borei-class is Russia’s try and reply the American Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, and is able to carrying as much as 16 Bulava missiles tipped with 10 nuclear warheads every

Smaller and with fewer crew than their predecessors, Borei submarines are designed to remain out at sea for longer and to be tougher to detect by enemy subs and radar.

A modified design that’s able to carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles – just like the Ohio-class – is into consideration by the Russian navy.

Nuclear bombers

The normal mainstay of the nuclear arsenal, long-range bombers have been utilized by America to drop the primary ever nuclear bomb on Japan and was how the US and Soviets initially deliberate to battle a nuclear battle.

With the arrival of missiles and submarines nuclear bombers are usually not the menace they as soon as have been, however most nations nonetheless have a couple of obtainable – and Russia is not any exception.


The biggest and heaviest fight plane at present in service wherever on the planet, the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic long-range bomber that may carry each standard and nuclear bombs.

Sixteen are at present in service with the Russian air power however dozens extra are deliberate.

The heaviest and largest combat aircraft in use anywhere in the world, the Tu-160 can carry both conventional bombs and nuclear tipped cruise and ballistic missiles

The heaviest and largest fight plane in use wherever on the planet, the Tu-160 can carry each standard bombs and nuclear tipped cruise and ballistic missiles

Every bomber can carry as much as six Kh-55 nuclear cruise missiles, or twelve Kh-15 ballistic missiles. The primary has a yield as much as 450kilotons, whereas the second has a yield as much as 300kilotons – although could also be retired from service.

The bomber has a variety of as much as 7,600 miles however can lengthen this by refueling in mid-air, although the aptitude isn’t used. 


Often known as the ‘Bear’, this enormous four-engine long-range bomber was the mainstay of Soviet nuclear forces for many years – having first been launched in 1956.

With a variety of 5,000 miles – far sufficient to hit key targets within the US – this may be prolonged as much as 19,000 miles with mid-air refueling, a feat Russia pulled off on a 2010 check flight.

Initially designed to drop free-falling nuclear bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it has since been tailored to a variety of ordinance together with cruise missiles – which may also be nuclear-tipped.

The original mainstay of Russia's nuclear forces, the 'Bear' was designed to drop free-falling nukes of the kind that destroyed Hiroshima, but has since been modified to carry cruise missiles

The unique mainstay of Russia’s nuclear forces, the ‘Bear’ was designed to drop free-falling nukes of the type that destroyed Hiroshima, however has since been modified to hold cruise missiles


An unconventional menace, however one that’s obtainable to Putin, is nuclear artillery.

One in all quite a few unconventional nuclear weapons that have been developed throughout and after the Chilly Conflict, the gun works however firing shells tipped with very small nuclear warheads.

Different unconventional nuclear weapons embody a backpack nuke developed by the US – the Mk-54 SADM – and the Davy Crockett nuclear rocket launcher – additionally developed by America.

2S7 Pion 

An enormous Howitzer, the Pion is without doubt one of the largest and most-powerful standard artillery techniques ever fielded.

Able to lobbing shells as much as 23 miles – a lot additional than the 13 miles managed by America’s M777 gun – the Pion has a firing alarm that sounds earlier than it goes off as a result of it will probably concuss its crew if they’re caught unaware.

The 2S7 Pion is one of the largest conventional artillery pieces ever developed and is known to be in use in Ukraine. It can fire nuclear-tipped shells with a relatively small yield of one kiloton

The 2S7 Pion is without doubt one of the largest standard artillery items ever developed and is understood to be in use in Ukraine. It could fireplace nuclear-tipped shells with a comparatively small yield of 1 kiloton

A lesser-known characteristic of the Pion is that it’s able to firing nuclear-tipped shells that explode with a 1kiloton blast, or roughly a tenth of the scale of the Hiroshima bomb.

Whereas the blast is comparatively small in comparison with different kinds of nuclear weapons, it could nonetheless be devastating for troops on the battlefield and irradiate a small space – making it troublesome to cross by way of. 



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