Russia and weapons of mass destruction

The Russian Federation is known to have possessed three types of weapons of mass destruction: nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and chemical weapons. It is one of the five nuclear-weapon states recognized under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The nation possesses approximately 6,400 nuclear warheads—the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.[4] More than half of the world's 14,000 nuclear weapons are owned by Russia.[5] Russia's predecessor state, the Soviet Union, reached a peak stockpile of about 45,000 nuclear warheads in 1986.[6]

Russian Federation
Nuclear program start date1943[1]
First nuclear weapon testAugust 29, 1949
First thermonuclear weapon testAugust 12, 1953
Last nuclear testOctober 24, 1990
Largest yield test50 Mt (210 PJ) (Tsar Bomba, October 30, 1961)
Total tests715 detonations
Peak stockpile45,000 warheads (1990)
Current stockpile6400 total[2]
Current strategic arsenal1,600[2]
Cumulative strategic arsenal in megatonnage663.5-801.5 (2016.est)
(Variability occurs because of uncertainty about SS-18 yields)[3]
Maximum missile rangeIntercontinental up to 16,000 kilometers
NPT partyYes (1968, one of five recognized powers)

The Soviet Union ratified the Geneva Protocol—prohibiting the use of biological and chemical weapons—on April 5, 1928 with reservations that were later dropped on January 18, 2001.[7] Russia is also party to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.[8][9] The Soviet biological weapons program violated the Biological Weapons Convention and was the world's largest, longest, and most sophisticated program of its kind.[10] At its peak, the program employed up to 65,000 people.[10] In 1997, Russia declared an arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons.[11][12]

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