Mark Almond: The good news is that Putin can't start WW3 just by jabbing a button on his desk

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MARK ALMOND: The bully quality is that Vladimir Putin can't commencement WW3 conscionable by jabbing a reddish fastener connected his desk... And we don't cognize if Russia's aged atomic warheads inactive work

By Mark Almond For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:00 BST, 21 September 2022 | Updated: 08:07 BST, 22 September 2022

Vladimir Putin could not beryllium clearer. 'I americium not bluffing,' helium said, successful narration to his menace to spell nuclear. But is he? And does it automatically travel that Armageddon would unfold if Putin launched the archetypal nuclear bombs the satellite has seen since 1945?

The bully quality is that Putin can't commencement World War III by simply jabbing a reddish fastener connected his table successful the Kremlin. If helium decides to motorboat an attack, the bid has to spell done astatine slightest 3 layers of checks enactment successful spot to forestall the accidental oregon unauthorised motorboat of atomic missiles.

Before reaching the atomic silos, mobile motorboat sites and submarines, his bid would spell via 3 men: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov and the caput of the Russian atomic rocket forces, Sergei Karakayev.

Even aft travelling down this concatenation of command, the launches would not travel instantly.

Unless determination has been a alteration successful the modular protocols since Russia invaded Ukraine, determination would beryllium a 20-minute spread betwixt each transmission from the 'nuclear football' [the Cheget] containing the codes required to transmit the motorboat bid and targeting information, to let the atomic troops to verify that it is genuinely authorised.

These safeguards are captious fixed the size of Russia's atomic stockpile. It is estimated to beryllium 5,977 atomic warheads — the world's largest — chiefly stored successful 12 depots crossed Russia. Of these, 1,500 are thought to beryllium acceptable to beryllium launched.

Before the Ukraine war, Putin boasted that America's Star Wars rocket defence strategy would beryllium powerless to halt his caller hypersonic missiles. In practice, however, the weapons helium is astir apt to usage are smaller tactical missiles susceptible of hitting neighbours specified arsenic Ukraine oregon adjacent Nato states.

Mark Almond: 'Vladimir Putin could not beryllium clearer. 'I americium not bluffing,' helium said, successful narration to his menace to spell nuclear. But is he?'

These are stored mostly successful 'European' Russia and the exclave of Kaliningrad, betwixt Poland and Lithuania. Among them is the long-range cruise rocket Kalibr, which could scope London. It is imaginable that Putin could astonishment the West by utilizing his shorter-range Iskander rockets to present missiles with an atomic warhead. If fired from a truck-mounted launcher successful Russian territory, adjacent the Iskander could deed Warsaw oregon Stockholm with a warhead 8 times much destructive than the Hiroshima bomb.

Finally, Putin has his classical intercontinental ballistic missiles, based astatine silos successful occidental Siberia. They could easy scope London oregon Washington.

What we don't cognize is if Russia's aged atomic warheads inactive work. While Russia has tested the missiles that would transportation the atomic warheads, test-ban treaties mean neither America nor Russia has really detonated a atomic limb for decades.

Riot constabulary detain a pistillate during a protestation against mobilization of reservists successful Moscow, Russia connected Wednesday. Putin made the partial mobilization effectual immediately 

Given the sophistication of our information services' eavesdropping capabilities, nary Russian atomic onslaught would travel retired of the blue. To motorboat thousands of missiles and bombers volition necessitate a blizzard of physics orders and these would beryllium intercepted by the West's spooks.

In addition, spy outer images of the factual and alloy covers of the immense underground atomic retention bunkers being pulled back, submarines putting to oversea and Russian strategical bombers rolling retired connected to runways would each springiness america beforehand informing of an offensive. Indeed, it would beryllium tenable to presume that we successful the West volition have, if not the ten-minute informing of fashionable cliche, possibly up to an hr successful which to prepare.

Not that there's overmuch we could bash to capitalise connected this successful presumption of redeeming lives. Even if we had a web of underground bunkers successful our towns and cities, the world is that if the Government waited until determination was wide grounds of a motorboat of missiles by Russia it would beryllium excessively precocious for radical to bash overmuch astir dispersing to places of safety.

In the circumstances, immoderate nationalist informing is apt to execute thing much than wide panic. This is wherefore Western governments person enactment their religion successful atomic deterrence alternatively than contingency plans and wherefore I judge they are apt to proceed to bash the same, focusing their efforts connected persuading Putin to propulsion backmost from the brink alternatively than connected processing a nationalist informing system.

The worst-case scenario, of course, is that the unthinkable happens: swathes of the UK are destroyed, the colonisation decimated, the Government vaporised. Chilling arsenic it is to imagine, plans person been made for that, too. Command of our Armed Forces would beryllium devolved to Canada oregon America.

But unless Putin is suicidal, the menace of a devastating atomic strike-back should marque anyone successful the Kremlin deliberation doubly astir attacking the UK, meaning mutiny among his interior ellipse would beryllium wholly possible.

Nonetheless, we can't spot Putin's promises. We should instrumentality his threats seriously.

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