Nuclear weapons expert explores Britain’s defence against a Russia’s missiles

Britain has no way to defend against nuclear missiles which could hit London in a matter of seconds.

Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to rule out the threat of nuclear warfare as he pursues his 'special military operation' of bloodshed in Ukraine.

Since the war was first waged on February 24, Putin has warned the West that supporting Ukraine would not go without serious consequences.

Russian state-backed TV station Rossiya-1 frighteningly reported on Friday that a missile fired from Kaliningrad is capable of nuking Berlin in 106 seconds, Paris in 200 seconds and London in 202 seconds.

The prospect of Vladimir Putin targeting the UK remains unlikely but nuclear weapons expert, Professor Andrew Futter has told MyLondon what the UK's defence would look like.

The University of Leicester academic said: “We aren’t protected, basically.“

He added: “We don’t have any way to intercept Russian ballistic missiles flying towards the UK.

“We might be able to block bomber aircraft, but much of the Russian nuclear arsenal is based on missiles. We would see missiles coming, we have satellites in North Yorkshire and access to US and NATO early warning systems.”

All this would give us about 15 minutes to prepare for a nuclear strike. Prof Futter added: “It wouldn’t give us time to do anything.

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Government officials might be OK, there is a bunker under Whitehall and some places VIPs can hide.” I wasn’t particularly reassured on hearing this.

Filingdales, a base in North Yorkshire, sees the UK play host to a US radar missile defence system, which has the ability to track but not intercept missiles.

“The nascent US and NATO missile defence systems would have some capability against launches from the Middle East but not Russia,” Prof Futter says.

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While Ronald Reagan’s dream of a “Star Wars” space-based missile defence system never came to full fruition, the US does have a ballistic missile defence system with a site in Europe.

"But here’s the bad news from Prof Futter who said: “It has virtually zero capability against Russian missiles that can deploy countermeasures.”

In other words, some of Russia’s nuclear weapons can strike down missiles that are trying to stop them. Bombs bombing bombs, essentially.

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We know that the US has the ability to intercept some nuclear strikes. Britain, on the whole, does not. Why?

“One of the reasons is because of a belief in the deterrent value of nuclear weapons, because we believe our Trident system, based on submarines, would be very hard to attack,” Prof Futter says.

The theory is that anyone attacking the UK would run the risk of retaliation and any rational leader wouldn’t do it. And NATO is a nuclear alliance, so any attack on the UK would “almost certainly” involve the US.

But a nuclear deterrent only works if the other person plays the game. Prof Futter continued: “None of us have a crystal ball, but I don't see a nuclear attack on the UK being likely. It would an enormous escalation and suicidal.

"Putin said he’d raise the alert status, it’s not clear what that means. He has strategic weapons that are on alert already.“

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