Nuclear war - nuclear defence weapons the UK has to protect itself if Russia launches a nuclear attack

Even the mild contemplation that nuclear war might be possible is one that, until recent weeks, was unthinkable - one consigned to history.

But as Vladimir Putin loses more and more troops and military hardware to the courageous Ukranian resistance in the face of Russian aggression, it is clear that he is prepared to make threats to use weapons that have the potential to cause unimaginable devastation.

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Publicly available Ministry of Defence documentation states that: "The risk of nuclear conflict remains remote, but the threats the UK faces are increasing in scale, diversity and complexity."

So what can the UK do to protect itself from nuclear attack?

The UK's Independent Nuclear Deterrent has been in place for over 60 years and is in place to ward off the most serious threats to national security - in short, it is there to protect the lives of UK citizens from mass slaughter at the hands of aggressors equipped with and potentially willing to use nuclear weapons.

Whilst NATO allies, including the UK, have been leading the way in nuclear disarmament, the likes of Russia and China have continued to develop and diversify their nuclear arsenals. That in itself is the frequently used rationale and justification for western allies to maintain their nuclear weapons - to deter rogue states from that Cold War spectre of mutually assured termination.

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Perhaps unbeknown to many, our nuclear deterrent works every second of every day, patrolling and protecting our shores in what a Ministry of Defence media clip says is: "an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world."

At least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine patrols the seas, undetected by enemy intelligence, at all times. This is known as the Continuous At Sea Deterrent which Ministers state is equipped only with enough destructive power to ensure effective defence against an attack, and a credible weapon to potential enemy states.

Who can authorise the use of nuclear weapons in the UK?

Only the sitting Prime Minister - in today's event, Boris Johnson - can authorise the use of nuclear weapons. Government and military policy states that such destructive weaponry will only be authroised for use, 'only in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO allies.'

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