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‘Doomsday Clock’ update triggered by Russia-Ukraine conflict: US scientists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US military's multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) is an exoatmospheric ballistic missile payload containing several warheads, each capable of being aimed to hit a different target.

A leading group of atomic scientists in the United States says humanity stands at its most perilous time on record, with the so-called Doomsday Clock advancing to within just 90 seconds of midnight due to Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.

Members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveiled their updated Doomsday Clock, which reflects how close humanity is to nuclear Armageddon, on Tuesday in Washington.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock 10 seconds forward to reflect the group’s view of how close the world has been pushed to the extinction of humanity.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in Chicago in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists. It is a preeminent publication that informs the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.

The Doomsday Clock is updated each January. 

The group said the latest adjustment reflects “a time of unprecedented danger,” which is largely due to “the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine.”

The bulletin’s Science and Security Board (SASB) said Russia made “thinly veiled threats” to use nuclear weapons, horrifying the world that the conflict could escalate catastrophically.

“Even if nuclear use is avoided in Ukraine, the war has challenged the nuclear order – the system of agreements and understandings that have been constructed over six decades to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons,” said SASB member Steve Fetter, dean of the graduate school and professor of public policy at the University of Maryland.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said that those who want to see Moscow defeated in Ukraine, ignore the fact that “a loss by a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger the start of a nuclear war.”

Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of President Vladimir Putin's Security Council, said, "Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends."

Russia and the United States, the largest nuclear powers, hold around 90% of the world's nuclear warheads.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that nuclear tensions had risen because of the war in Ukraine.

The Russian leader said Moscow would not transfer its nuclear weapons to anyone as Washington has stationed some of its nukes in NATO allies in Europe.

US President Joe Biden has warned Putin against thoughts of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, adding that it would “change the face of war unlike anything since WWII.”

Leading American political analyst and philosopher Noam Chomsky has said the rising tension between Russia and the United States might lead to a nuclear war that could cause the end of mankind.

Chomsky said this weekend the world is racing toward an “irreversible” disaster due to an increased risk of nuclear war, failure to address climate challenges, and a diminished ability of great powers to tackle international problems rationally.

He said humanity’s main concerns are “an increasing threat of nuclear war” and “a very severe and growing threat of destruction of the climate.”

He added that the latter problem persists because “states are not doing what they know they must do to solve this crisis.”

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