Doomsday clock moves, Russia nixes talks

doomsday clock

The Science & Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Jan. 24 moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, citing the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. The press release announcing the move spared no criticism for Russia, excoriating Moscow for breaking its commitment to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, and violating international protocols by bringing its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear plants.

The statement also expressed alarm over Russia’s repeated implicit threats to unleash nuclear war. “[W]orst of all,” the statement read, “Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention, or miscalculation—is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.”

The statement nonetheless called on the United States to “keep the door open to principled engagement with Moscow that reduces the dangerous increase in nuclear risk… The US government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; they all should be explored. Finding a path to serious peace negotiations could go a long way toward reducing the risk of escalation. In this time of unprecedented global danger, concerted action is required, and every second counts.”

Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov responded to the statement by acknowledging that “the situation is really alarming,” but rejected any imminent return to the negotiating table. Citing last week’s decision by the US and Western allies to provide scores of tanks to Ukraine, he said: “Right now we can only state that the prospects for stepping on a diplomatic path are not visible at present.” (The Hill, AA, CNN)

The Doomsday Clock was last moved to 100 seconds to midnight in January 2020.

Image: BAS

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