Moscow put its strategic nuclear forces on alert last week in the middle of the war in Ukraine, causing ripples across the globe.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that if World War III were to occur, it would involve nuclear weapons and be devastating, according to Russian media.
The comments reported by the RIA news agency on Wednesday came the next day He told a disarmament meeting in Geneva via video link, where neighboring Ukraine, which Russia invaded last week, had been searching for nuclear weapons.
He presented no evidence other than saying “Ukraine still has Soviet nuclear technologies and the means to supply such weapons.”
Lavrov has also said that Russia would have faced a “real danger” if Ukraine acquired nuclear weapons.
Nuclear forces on high alert
Russian forces attacked Ukraine on land, in the air and at sea, the largest attack from one state against another in Europe since World War II.
The move has been countered by the West with harsh economic sanctions against Russia as well as supplies of arms and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The US government on Tuesday announced a ban on Russian flights in its airspace following similar actions by the EU and Canada.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin resigned strategic nuclear forces in emergency preparednesscauses ripples across the globe and increases the threat that tensions could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
Putin said his decision came after leading NATO powers made “aggressive statements” while imposing hard-hitting economic sanctions on Russia and himself.
US President Joe Biden downplayed the threat of Russia’s “dangerous” nuclear mobilization. Asked if people in the United States should be concerned about nuclear war, Biden calmly replied “no”.
Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, according to studies. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has counted 6,255 Russian warheads against 5,550 for the United States. China lags far behind with 350 and France with 290.
Although these figures are widely accepted, they are nonetheless estimates, especially since not all nuclear weapon systems actually carry nuclear warheads, a data that is mostly unclear.