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Researchers say the number of nuclear weapons in the world could rise in the next decade after 35 years of decline due to global tensions amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

According to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the nine nuclear powers of Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, the United States and Russia had 12,705 nuclear warheads in early 2022, or 375 fewer than in early 2021. 

The figure has plummeted from a high of more than 70,000 in 1986, but SIPRI researchers have warned the era of disarmament appears to be coming to an end.

The risk of a nuclear escalation is now at its highest point in the post-Cold War period.

“Soon, we’re going to get to the point where, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the global number of nuclear weapons in the world could start increasing for the first time”, Matt Korda, one of the co-authors of the report, said.

“That is really kind of dangerous territory.”

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