When will Russia use its nuclear stockpile? Kremlin officials clarify
- Russia has the biggest nuclear stockpile
- Putin signed a military doctrine in 2020 that outlines Russia's nuclear policy
- Russia considered nuclear weapons "exclusively as a means of deterrence", the document reads
Russia is currently the country with the biggest nuclear stockpile. But the Kremlin has also designed a highly specific framework that would allow the use of these weapons of mass destruction.
Alexander Grushko, the deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, revealed the situations in which Russia would be willing to use its large stockpile of nuclear weapons. The country has more than 1,400 active warheads, reports suggest.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the six-page document in June 2020 and said that the country considers nuclear weapons "exclusively as a means of deterrence", according to reports from Newsweek. The official name of the document is "Basic Principles of the Russian Federation's State Policy in the Domain of Nuclear Deterrence."
As per the signed military doctrine, Kremlin is allowed to use nuclear weapons in the following situations:
-Russia's enemies are using nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction on Russian territories and/or its allies.
-If Russia receives reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking its territory or that of Russian allies.
-If Russia's critical government or military sites are attacked by the enemy in a way that would undermine nuclear forces response actions.
-If the country faces an existential threat through the use of conventional weapons.
So far, Russia has not directly said that it would use nuclear weapons in its ongoing "special operation" in Ukraine. However, early in the conflict, Putin put his nuclear forces on alert. The move was later condemned by various world leaders who defined it as a "Russian rhetoric."
In a recent interaction with Associated Press, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko -- considered to be a close ally of Putin -- said that it would be "unacceptable" to use nuclear weapons in the ongoing conflict, but said he did not know if Russia had any such plans.