Fact Sheet

Nuclear Disarmament Russia

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Nuclear Disarmament Russia

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Estimated Arsenal Size

NPT Nuclear Weapon State

Deployed: 1,588
Reserve: 2,889
Retired warheads awaiting dismantlement: 1,500
Total: 5,977

  • 4,477 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces
  • 1,588 strategic warheads are deployed: 812 on land-based ballistic missiles, 576 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, 200 at heavy bomber bases
  • 977 strategic warheads in storage with 1,912 nonstrategic warheads
  • 1,500 retired intact warheads

Key Weapon Systems


  • 1,185 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
  • 800 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs)
  • 60-70 Heavy bombers


  • 2,000 Nonstrategic nuclear warheads
  • Russia  cruise missiles

Novel Systems

  • Burevestnik Nuclear Powered Cruise Missile: Unlimited range, successful test of missile in January 2019
  • Status-6/Poseidon Autonomous Underwater Vehicle: Reaches depth of 1,000 meters, speed of 100 knots and range of up to 10,000 km; tested in 2016, potentially deployable in 2027

Military Fissile Material Stockpile

  • Total HEU available for weapons, MT: 678
  • HEU available for weapons, MT: 672
  • Total Pu MT: 191
  • Pu available for weapons, MT: 88

Disarmament and Commitments to Reduce Arsenal Size

  • On 1 July 1968 Russia signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and committed to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament
  • In 2010, signed the New START treaty with the U.S. (extended in 2021 until 2026), which limits both states to no more than 800 ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers. New START also commits each state to the reduction of deployed strategic warheads to no more than 1,550 and the deployment of no more than 700 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.

Future Commitments

Nuclear Weapons Policy

Nuclear Testing

  • On 24 February 2022 Putin gave a speech to country stating that in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia retained the right to use nuclear weapons
  • In June 2020 Putin signed the Basic Principles of the Russian Federation’s State Policy in the Domain of Nuclear Deterrence stating it reserved the right to use nuclear weapons in the case of a WMD attack against it or its allies or a conventional weapons attack against it that threatened the existence of the state
  • On 24 September 1996 Russia signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibiting nuclear explosive testing

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The positioning of military forces – conventional and/or nuclear – in conjunction with military planning.
Dismantlement: Taking apart a weapon, facility, or other item so that it is no longer functional.
Tactical nuclear weapons
Short-range nuclear weapons, such as artillery shells, bombs, and short-range missiles, deployed for use in battlefield operations.
Ballistic missile
A delivery vehicle powered by a liquid or solid fueled rocket that primarily travels in a ballistic (free-fall) trajectory.  The flight of a ballistic missile includes three phases: 1) boost phase, where the rocket generates thrust to launch the missile into flight; 2) midcourse phase, where the missile coasts in an arc under the influence of gravity; and 3) terminal phase, in which the missile descends towards its target.  Ballistic missiles can be characterized by three key parameters - range, payload, and Circular Error Probable (CEP), or targeting precision.  Ballistic missiles are primarily intended for use against ground targets.
Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM): A ballistic missile with a range greater than 5,500 km. See entry for ballistic missile.
Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM)
Refers to cruise missiles with conventional or nuclear payloads that are launched from submarines.
Tactical nuclear weapons
Short-range nuclear weapons, such as artillery shells, bombs, and short-range missiles, deployed for use in battlefield operations.
Cruise missile
An unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path. There are subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles currently deployed in conventional and nuclear arsenals, while conventional hypersonic cruise missiles are currently in development. These can be launched from the air, submarines, or the ground. Although they carry smaller payloads, travel at slower speeds, and cover lesser ranges than ballistic missiles, cruise missiles can be programmed to travel along customized flight paths and to evade missile defense systems.
Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
Highly enriched uranium (HEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of more than 20% of the isotope U-235. Achieved via the process of enrichment. See entry for enriched uranium.
Megaton (MT)
Megaton (MT): The energy equivalent released by 1,000 kilotons (1,000,000 tons) of trinitrotoluene (TNT) explosive. Typically used as the unit of measurement to express the amount of energy released by a nuclear bomb.
Plutonium (Pu)
Plutonium (Pu): A transuranic element with atomic number 94, produced when uranium is irradiated in a reactor. It is used primarily in nuclear weapons and, along with uranium, in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. Plutonium-239, a fissile isotope, is the most suitable isotope for use in nuclear weapons.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The NPT: Signed in 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the most widely adhered-to international security agreement. The “three pillars” of the NPT are nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Article VI of the NPT commits states possessing nuclear weapons to negotiate in good faith toward halting the arms race and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Treaty stipulates that non-nuclear-weapon states will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, and will accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on their nuclear activities, while nuclear weapon states commit not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states. All states have a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and should assist one another in its development. The NPT provides for conferences of member states to review treaty implementation at five-year intervals. Initially of a 25-year duration, the NPT was extended indefinitely in 1995. For additional information, see the NPT.
New START: A treaty between the United States and Russia on further limitations and reductions of strategic offensive weapons, signed on 8 April 2010, which entered into force on 5 February 2011. Under the New START provisions, the two sides have to reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads and the number of deployed strategic delivery vehicles within seven years of the treaty’s entry into force. The treaty’s verification measures are based on the earlier verification system created under START I. New START supersedes the Moscow Treaty, and its duration is 10 years, with an option of extension for up to five years. See entry for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and Treaty of Moscow. For additional information, see New START.
WMD (weapons of mass destruction)
WMD: Typically refers to nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, though there is some debate as to whether chemical weapons qualify as weapons of “mass destruction.”
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
The CTBT: Opened for signature in 1996 at the UN General Assembly, the CTBT prohibits all nuclear testing if it enters into force. The treaty establishes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to ensure the implementation of its provisions and verify compliance through a global monitoring system upon entry into force. Pending the treaty’s entry into force, the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO is charged with establishing the International Monitoring System (IMS) and promoting treaty ratifications. CTBT entry into force is contingent on ratification by 44 Annex II states. For additional information, see the CTBT.


  1. David Holloway, “Read the Fine Print: Russia’s Nuclear Weapon Use Policy,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 10, 2022, https://thebulletin.org.
  2. “U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Agreements at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, www.armscontrol.org.
  3. International Panel on Fissile Materials, May 2, 2022, www.fissilematerials.org.
  4. Matt Korda and Hans M. Kristensen, “Nuclear Notebook: How Many Nuclear Weapons Does Russia Have in 2022?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 23, 2022, https://thebulletin.org.
  5. “New START Treaty” Nuclear Threat Initiative, June 3, 2022, www.nti.org.
  6. “Russia,” International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), www.icanw.org/russia.
  7. Russia’s Nuclear Weapons: Doctrine, Forces, and Modernization, Congressional Research Service, April 21, 2022, https://sgp.fas.org.
  8. “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), July 25, 2014, www.iaea.org.
  9. “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” United Nations, https://www.un.org.


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