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ACTIVISTS called for urgent peace negotiations in Ukraine following scientists’ warning on Tuesday that we are closer than ever to Armageddon, with the Doomsday Clock moving to just 90 seconds to midnight.
The call came as Germany appeared to bow to US pressure to send tanks to the warzone after a US agreement also to send tanks.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), founded in 1947, uses the clock to symbolise the potential likelihood of nuclear war destroying the planet.
The decision, made by the BAS science and security board, moved the clock 10 seconds closer than last year, making it the closest it has ever been to striking 12.
At the end of the Cold War the clock was as much as 17 minutes from midnight.
Bulletin president Rachel Bronson said at the online announcement: “We are sending a message that the situation is becoming more urgent.
“Crises are more likely to happen and have broader consequences and longer standing effects.”
As well as highlighting the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the scientists also referred to Iran increasing its uranium enrichment, missile tests in North Korea, future pandemics from animal diseases, pathogens from lab mistakes, “disruptive technologies” and worsening climate change as other existential threats to humanity.
But the scientists failed to make any criticism of the US arming, funding and promoting proxy wars across the globe — including against Russia in Ukraine — as even possible contributing factors.
Campaigners called for urgent moves towards peace in Ukraine.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons tweeted this “is a global alarm we cannot afford to ignore any longer.
Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said: “The world is closer than ever to global catastrophe. Isn’t this enough reason to call for negotiations in Ukraine?”
Kate Hudson of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said: “This is the closest to annihilation we have ever come. People all over the world must redouble efforts to turn back the clock.”
But in a move likely only to further raise tensions the US appears poised to reverse its previous position by agreeing to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Also, after weeks of hesitation, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard II battle tanks and approve requests by other countries to do the same.
The Germans said they would initially provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard II A6 tanks, from its own stocks.
The US and its allies are looking to provide Ukraine with a total of 88 tanks.
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