THE Kremlin issued a chilling threat of nuclear war today after scientists said humanity is closer than ever to Armageddon.
The Doomsday Clock was moved closer to midnight at an unveiling in Washington yesterday[/caption]
Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened to fire nukes at the West[/caption]
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cited Moscow’s “thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons” in their reasons for moving the symbolic clock forward by ten seconds.
It means the world-renowned experts judge the end of the world is closer than at any time in recent history.
Panel member Dr Steve Fetter said: “The risk of nuclear catastrophe is higher today than last year.”
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The situation as a whole is really alarming.”
He called for a sober appraisal of tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine war.
But he blamed the West, claiming there was no prospect of peace based on “the line that was chosen by Nato under US leadership”.
Putin’s official mouthpiece, added: “This imposes on us a duty to be particularly careful, to be alert and to take appropriate measures.”
Earlier the Kremlin blasted a deal to send US and German tanks to Ukraine as “blatant provocation”.
Peskov said the Abrams and Leopard tanks “will burn like all the rest”.
And regime propagandists demanded Russia launch nukes at Berlin.
Yesterday a panel of scientists and global diplomats behind the Doomsday Clock cited repeated warnings by Putin and his cronies that he is ready to fire nukes.
“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,” said Rachel Bronson, head of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.”
Mary Robinson, ex Irish president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “The Doomsday Clock is sounding an alarm for the whole of humanity.
“We are on the brink of a precipice. But our leaders are not acting at sufficient speed or scale to secure a peaceful and liveable planet.”
As well as the war in Ukraine, the panel also pointed to China’s expansion of nuclear capabilities as “particularly troubling”.
It also noted North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and Iran’s race to build an atomic bomb.
Other reasons for moving the clock forward included the climate crisis, bio-threats like the Covid pandemic, and disruptive information technology.
The clock had been set at 100 seconds to midnight – previously the closest ever – since three years ago.
When have we been close to midnight before?
The Doomsday Clock launched in 1947 at seven minutes to midnight – but the outlook has got worse over time
- In 1953 the clock moved forward five minutes because the US and Soviet Union were testing nuclear weapons
- In 1963 the clock moved back five minutes after the US and Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty to limit testing
- In 1968 it moved forward five minutes after France and China developed nuclear weapons
- In the early 1970s five minutes was given back after three treaties were signed on nuclear weapons
- However, when India tested a nuclear device in 1974 the clock moved three minutes nearer midnight
- In 1981, it jumped six minutes forward at the height of nuclear arms race between the US and Soviet union
- In 1991 after the end of the Cold War fresh treaties were signed and the panel moved the clock back 14 minutes
- In 1998 it jumped forward by eight minutes after India and Pakistan both tested nukes and the US ramped up military spending
- In 2002 it moved another two minutes closer to midnight following the 9/11 terror attacks
- In 2007, another two were minutes were lost because of North Korea’s nuclear tests and Iran’s murky ambitions
- 2017 was the first time the panel took away part of a minute – the clock edged forward by 30 seconds
- In 2020 it moved from two minutes to 100 seconds to midnight
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday: “Leaders did not heed the Doomsday Clock’s warnings in 2020.
“We all continue to pay the price. In 2023 it is vital for all our sakes that they act.”
The Doomsday Clock has served as a metaphor for global apocalypse since it was founded in 1947.
A panel of experts – including scientists and Nobel prize winners – decides whether to move the hands each year based on perceived threats to our existence.
The furthest it has ever moved from midnight was 17 minutes in 1991, following the end of the Cold War and a series of nuclear weapons treaties.
Mary Robinson, second from right, warned we are on the ‘brink of a precipice’[/caption]