WAR in Eastern Europe is looking increasingly likely as Vladimir Putin ignores calls to back down over the Ukraine border crisis. Will there be a nuclear war, and could Russia bomb Ukraine?
By Pip Murrison
11:49, Mon, Feb 14, 2022 | UPDATED: 16:34, Mon, Feb 14, 2022
Despite desperate attempts by western powers to avert disaster on the Ukraineborder, Russian leader Vladimir Putin still refused to withdraw an estimated 130,000 troops from the border. Many see this as a prelude to invasion. If President Putin decided to bomb Ukraine what would the fallout look like?
James Heappey, the armed forces minister, has sparked alarm as he warned that bombs could drop on Ukraine within minutes of President Putin giving the order.
He told Sky News: “My fear is [an invasion] is very imminent, that’s not to say it’s definitely going to happen.
His warning came after he told British citizens to flee Ukraine immediately on February 11.
Russia has a range of deadly nuclear weapons at its disposal. A worrying simulation by Nukemap showed the horrifying fallout that could occur if President Putin decided to bomb Ukraine.
The exact capabilities of Russia’s nuclear arsenal remain unclear. However, if it launched a nuke with the same capabilities as “Tsar Bomba”, the largest designed bomb under the USSR, then the fallout would be catastrophic.
This nuke has capabilities of 100 megatonnes. If it were to be launched on the Ukrainian capital, then its consequences would be devastating.
The fireball radius of the bomb would engulf the entire city. According to Nukemap, it would cover 6.1km² (117km²).
But the effects of such a weapon would be felt far beyond the city, as the thermal radiation radius would cover an estimated area of 73.7km² (17,080km²).
This would stretch almost as far as Bila Tserkva to the north of the capital.
Nukemap stated thermal radiation would cause “third-degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin, and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves”.
It added: “They can cause severe scarring or disablement and can require amputation. 100 percent probability for third-degree burns at this yield is 13.9cal/cm2.”
The effects of the blast could stretch as far as Chernobyl and to the Belarusian border.
According to Nukemap, the “light blast damage radius” would cover a 91.8km² (26,450km²) area.
Those within this area would expect to see their windows smashed, which would cause “many injuries in a surrounding population who comes to a window after seeing the flash of a nuclear explosion”.
During a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Putin said allowing Ukraine to join NATO would increase the chances of a Russia-NATO conflict. He added such an event could turn nuclear.
He confirmed that a war with Europe and Russia would likely happen if Ukraine joined NATO and then attempted to take back Russian-occupied Crimea.
He said: “Of course, NATO’s united potential and that of Russia are incomparable.”
He then stressed that: “[Russia] is one of the world’s leading nuclear powers and is superior to many of those countries in terms of the number of modern nuclear force components.”