While Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with nearly 6,000 warheads, the UK has its own weaponry that could help deter the Russian threat. Currently, Britain has a stockpile of 195 warheads, but it plans to boost this to up to 260 at a maximum cap in what would be the first increase since the Cold War. This comes as Putin sent a horror warning to the West by putting his nuclear forces on “high alert”.
And a Russian MP has even warned Prime Minister warned Boris Johnson that the UK is now a “prime target” for Moscow given London’s unwavering military and political support for Kyiv.
The Russian lawmaker said last week: “Great Britain is a prime target for that (nuclear strike). It is an island nation, which would minimise the damage to the continent.”
Putin has also been unveiling some terrifying weapons that could cause chaos in the West, such as the “Satan 2”, which was test-fired earlier this month.
But the UK has some mighty weapons of its own.
Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons programme, is operated by the Royal Navy and has four Vanguard-class submarines armed with Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles.
Made by US company Lockheed Martin, these weapons are a three-stage, solid-fuel, inertially-guided missiles with a range of 4,000 nautical miles.
Each Vanguard submarine can carry up to eight of these missiles at one time.
According to the Government, the Royal Navy has kept a continuous at-sea deterrence since 1969.
This involves one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine patrolling the seas undetected at all times.
Britain also plans to put four new submarines into action to replace the Vanguard submarines.
Putin has also said that “if someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast”.
But the UK’s nuclear expansion has not been warmly welcomed by everyone, leaving critics baffled.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said the plan “breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile”.
He added: “It doesn’t explain, when, why, or for what strategic purpose.”