HomeWorldRussia-Ukraine war pushes 'Doomsday Clock' closest to midnight in history, scientists say

Russia-Ukraine war pushes ‘Doomsday Clock’ closest to midnight in history, scientists say

The ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia has pushed the “Doomsday Clock” to just 90 seconds before midnight, the closest point in history to cataclysm.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which released the updated clock on Tuesday, said the Russia-Ukraine war has played a crucial role in changing global stability.

“Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict, by accident, intent or miscalculation, is a terrible risk,” the Bulletin said. said in a statement that “the possibility that the conflict could get out of anyone’s control remains high.”

“We are really closer to that doomsday,” former Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia said Tuesday in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ annual announcement classification. He and former Irish President Mary Robinson joined the scientists in highlighting what they see as a coming together of several existential threats, chief among them the actions and words of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.


“People and scientists are warning us and we have to wake up now,” he said.

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol created at the start of the Cold War in 1947 to represent the threat of nuclear weapons which, according to the Bulletin, have the potential to destroy civilization as we know it.

The Bulletin has moved the clock 10 seconds closer than last year, making it the closest it has ever come to striking 12. Up to 17 minutes have passed since midnight after the end of the Cold War, but in the In recent years, the group has gone from counting the minutes until midnight to counting the seconds.

Last August, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the world had entered “a time of nuclear peril not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

Siegfried Hecker, left to right, Daniel Holz, Sharon Squassoni, Mary Robinson and Elbegdorj Tsakhia with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, remove a cloth covering the Doomsday Clock before a virtual press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, on Tuesday, January 24. , 2023.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“We are sending a message that the situation is becoming more urgent,” the Bulletin’s president, Rachel Bronson, said in the online announcement. “Crises are more likely to occur and have broader consequences and longer lasting effects.”

Underlining the outsized role the Russian invasion of Ukraine has played in bringing the theoretical doomsday closer, the Bulletin said it was also announcing the clock movement in the Russian and Ukrainian languages ​​for the first time.

Scientists and activists in the Bulletin announcement also mentioned nuclear weapons proliferation in China, Iran increasing its uranium enrichment, missile tests in North Korea, future animal disease pandemics, pathogens from laboratory errors, “disruptive technologies” and worsening climate change as other existential threats. to humanity

The Bulletin called on the US, its NATO allies and Ukraine to explore all options to de-escalate the conflict with Russia.


“Finding a path to serious peace negotiations could go a long way in reducing the risk of escalation,” the Bulletin said. “In this moment of unprecedented global danger, concerted action is required and every second counts.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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