CND has called for renewed efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine and avert nuclear war, after the hands of the Doomsday Clock were moved forward ten seconds. They now stand at 90 seconds to midnight.

The announcement by the Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists brings the clock the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. They cited the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine as a large, but not exclusive factor, in moving the clock forward.

In its statement on Tuesday, the Bulletin said 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. It noted that the risk of the war getting out of control remained high.

It also expressed concern at failed efforts to establish safety zones around Ukrainian nuclear plants like Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia – and the failure by the US and Russia to reach an agreement on further nuclear weapons reductions before the New Start treaty expires in 2026.

The Bulletin suggested that one way to help reduce the dangers of escalation was for sustained, high-level US military-to-military contacts with Russia and for Washington, NATO, and Ukraine to continue to explore all avenues for dialogue.

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, the Board said.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: At 90 seconds to midnight, this is the closest to annihilation we have ever come. Nuclear powers must do all they can to reduce nuclear tensions and open paths to dialogue before it is too late. Ending the war in Ukraine with a just peace is the first step in pushing back the hands of the Doomsday clock. 

Read the full Doomsday Clock 2023 statement and more in-depth analysis here.

Images courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists