Which countries have nuclear weapons? Belarusian President warns war in Ukraine must end

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Lukashenko warned the war in Ukraine must end. (AFP via Getty Images)
Lukashenko warned the war in Ukraine must end. (AFP via Getty Images)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has warned that the war in Ukraine must end to avoid the “abyss of nuclear war.”

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the AFP news agency: “We must stop, reach an agreement, end this mess, operation and war in Ukraine.

“Let’s stop and then we will figure out how to go on living … There’s no need to go further. Further lies the abyss of nuclear war. There’s no need to go there.”

Russian officials have previously said that it would only use nuclear weapons if confronted with an “existential threat.”

But there were concerns that nuclear weapons could have been used during the early days of the war in Ukraine after Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert.

Now, Lukashenko has urged Ukrainian authorities to “sit down at the negotiating table and agree that they will never threaten Russia.”

Which countries have nuclear weapons?

There are five countries that have admitted to having nuclear weapons. They are:

  • China

  • France

  • Russia

  • UK

  • US

They are known as the five Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nuclear-weapon States, or “P5.”

However, other countries have conducted nuclear weapons tests in recent years.

In 1998, India conducted nuclear bomb tests, and Pakistan then conducted nuclear bomb tests in response.

North Korea has conducted six nuclear weapons tests. Although the country has not tested nuclear weapons since 2017, in June, Sung Kim, US special representative to North Korea, warned that North Korea could conduct a seventh nuclear test "at any time.”

What is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

The  Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to pursue negotiations in good faith on disarmament measures.

The treaty has three pillars. The first obliges the five states to “pursue negotiations in good faith on disarmament measures,” while the second makes sure that States that do not have nuclear weapons do not acquire them.

The third pillar “promotes cooperation between States to share the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear technology, whilst making sure the technology cannot be used for weapons.”

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