The Russia-Ukraine War: Resources and Latest News

Russian President Vladimir Putin took "unprecedented" post-Cold War action Sunday, February 27, by ordering his nuclear deterrent forces to be on alert as international tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spiraled.

The United States said Putin was escalating the war with "dangerous rhetoric", amid signs that the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two was not producing rapid victories, but instead generating a far-reaching and concerted "political, strategic, economic and corporate Western response" less than four days after it started.(REUTERS - "Putin puts nuclear deterrent on alert; West squeezes Russian economy")

Updates

To Prevent Nuclear Annihilation, Resume Negotiations Immediately

The war in Ukraine shows the urgency of nuclear arms control
“It is either the end of nuclear weapons, or the end of us,” wrote 16 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in an open letter in March that has since been signed by more than a million people.

BY SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EDITORS | scientificamerican.com

“Bomb versus Metropolis” Principal Investigator/Project: Analog Conversion Project

Decades after the end of the cold war and mere months after the U.S., Russia and other members of the United Nations Security Council agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the specter of nuclear apocalypse again looms over humankind.

Western powers contemplating intervention in the war in Ukraine “must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” President Vladimir Putin warned in a not so veiled threat of nuclear retaliation on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Days later he raised the alert levels of Russian nuclear forces.

QUOTE FROM U.S. - RUSSIA PRESIDENTIAL JOINT STATEMENT ON STRATEGIC STABILITY JUNE '21

To Prevent Nuclear Annihilation, Resume Negotiations Immediately

The war in Ukraine shows the urgency of nuclear arms control
“It is either the end of nuclear weapons, or the end of us,” wrote 16 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in an open letter in March that has since been signed by more than a million people.

BY SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EDITORS | scientificamerican.com

“Bomb versus Metropolis” Principal Investigator/Project: Analog Conversion Project

Decades after the end of the cold war and mere months after the U.S., Russia and other members of the United Nations Security Council agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the specter of nuclear apocalypse again looms over humankind.

Western powers contemplating intervention in the war in Ukraine “must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” President Vladimir Putin warned in a not so veiled threat of nuclear retaliation on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Days later he raised the alert levels of Russian nuclear forces.

As Finland Nears NATO, Russia Flags ‘Full-Fledged Nuclear War’ Risk

Russia has railed against NATO expansion towards its borders and used the presence of the alliance near its borders as one of the justifications for its invasion of Ukraine.

BY | newsweek.com

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned of the risk of “open conflict” between Moscow and NATO, which could escalate into a nuclear war, just as Finland announced plans to join the alliance.

Although he did not mention Russia’s neighbor by name, Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of his country’s Security Council, raised the threat of nuclear war in a Telegram post which was published less than an hour after Helsinki announced its NATO intentions.

The Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday that, following Finland’s move, it will be “forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature to stop the threats to its national security,” RIA Novosti reported.

Earlier, Medvedev had described how there was “endless talk by foreign analysts about NATO’s war with Russia,” which in his view was “becoming more and more forthright.”

Eventually, our nuclear luck will run out

Putin might not use nukes. But someday, someone will.
“The war in Ukraine should, if nothing else, push us to take stock of the inhuman policies that keep total destruction a perpetual option. If we can’t act now, when the risk of the worst-case scenario has become horrifyingly real, will we ever act?

BY DAVID FARIS| April 28, 2022 theweek.com

As fears of escalation in Ukraine increase with every day of Russia’s deranged invasion, the specter of nuclear war spreads over the planet. Will Russian President Vladimir Putin authorize the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons, most of which are stronger than the nightmare devices dropped on Japan in 1945? The risk of annihilation remains low at any given moment, but the longer we allow states to threaten one another with this kind of eradication, the more likely it is we’ll eventually stumble into a catastrophic nuclear event. Maybe it won’t happen this year, this war, or this century. But in the long-term, in a world with nukes, nuclear war is inevitable.

Ukrainians shocked by ‘crazy’ scene at Chernobyl after Russian pullout reveals radioactive contamination

“What we see [in Chernobyl] is a vivid example of outrage at a nuclear facility. It is the responsibility not only of Ukraine, but of the whole world, to keep the stations safe. The whole world watched live as tanks fired at nuclear power units [in Zaporizhzhia]. This history must never repeat itself.” – Ukrainian Interior Minister Monastyrskyy

BY | April 9, 2022 cnn.com

Chernobyl, Ukraine (CNN) The sudden ear-piercing beep of a radiation meter fills the room as a Ukrainian soldier walks in. This is where Russian soldiers were living at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and radiation levels are now higher than normal.

There’s no visible presence of the source of the radioactive material in the room, but Ukrainian officials say it’s coming from small particles and dust that the soldiers brought into the building.
“They went to the Red Forest and brought radioactive material back with them on their shoes,” soldier Ihor Ugolkov explains. “Other places are fine, but radiation increased here, because they were living here.”

Nuclear fears in US amid Russia-Ukraine war, says a new poll

Close to half of Americans say they are very concerned that Russia would directly target the U.S. with nuclear weapons, and an additional 3 in 10 are somewhat concerned about that, according to the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his country’s nuclear forces on high alert shortly after the Feb. 24 invasion.

BY BEN FOX and HANNAH FINGERHUT | March 28, 2022 APNEWS apnews.com

Americans fear being drawn in

Russia’s war on Ukraine has most Americans at least somewhat worried that the U.S. will be drawn directly into the conflict. Now a new poll says there is also anxiety among Americans that they could be targeted with nuclear weapons.

Nearly 50% ‘very concerned’

Close to half of Americans in the poll say they are very concerned that Russia would directly target the U.S. with nuclear weapons, and an additional 3 in 10 are somewhat concerned about that.

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What to know about the threat of nuclear war

“Special alert is the Russian military’s highest level of alert. So Putin’s statement is serious. But it should also be noted that Russia, France, the United Kingdom and of course, the United States maintain almost 2,000 nuclear warheads on various states of high alert.

By Paige Sutherland  & Meghna Chakrabarti| March 14, 2022 wbur.org

A Soviet-era top secret object Duga, an over-the-horizon radar system once used as part of the Soviet missile defense early-warning radar network, seen behind a radioactivity sign in Chernobyl, Ukraine, on Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
A Soviet-era top secret object Duga, an over-the-horizon radar system once used as part of the Soviet missile defense early-warning radar network, seen behind a radioactivity sign in Chernobyl, Ukraine, on Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

On January 3rd of this year, the world’s five largest nuclear powers, including Russia, issued the following joint statement:

A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

But, one month later, Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

It’s a move that alarmed the world, and seems to fly in the face of that statement, which also says:

“Nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

On Point: Russia, and the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal. Where are the weapons, how are they controlled and what could trigger a launch?

FULL/ORIGINAL ARTICLE

THE INTERCEPT: “CONGRESS IS ALREADY BLOWING A KEY CHANCE TO REFORM NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY”

The national security establishment and its corporate allies dominate Congress’s new nuclear weapons commission.

“While the world draws closer to nuclear war than it has in decades, perhaps ever, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has given lawmakers a unique opportunity to scrutinize the massive nuclear modernization effort currently underway in the U.S. — the largest since the Cold War. But last week, when Congress announced most of its appointees to a new commission designed to do just that, it was business as usual. A former senator-turned-defense contractor lobbyist and a senior executive for BP were among the picks.”

By | March 24, 2022 THE INTERCEPT theintercept.com

SPEAKING TO CNN on Tuesday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, reiterated a well-known tenet of Russian military doctrine: The country could resort to the use of nuclear weapons if it perceives an “existential threat.” Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy made a similar comment to Sky News, saying that nuclear war could be a possible outcome if the country is “provoked” or “attacked” by NATO. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called Peskov’s comments to CNN “dangerous,” saying: “It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act” — begging the question of whether there is such a thing as a “responsible” nuclear power.

The Smaller Bombs That Could Turn Ukraine Into a Nuclear War Zone

“Mr. Putin might fire a [nuclear] weapon at an uninhabited area instead of at troops…It feels horrible to talk about these things, but we have to consider that this is becoming a possibility.” — Ulrich Kühn, a nuclear expert at the University of Hamburg and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


“Putin is using nuclear deterrence to have his way in Ukraine. His nuclear weapons keep the West from intervening.” — Nina Tannenwald, a political scientist at Brown University who recently profiled the less powerful armaments (so-called tactical nuclear weapons that can be launched on mobile short-range ballistic missile systems).

© NEW YORK TIMES By William J. Broad | March 21, 2022 nytimes.com

A photo released by a Russian state-owned news agency showing an Iskander-M launch vehicle being loaded with a ballistic missile during military exercises at a Russian firing range in Ussuriysk in 2016.
A photo released by a Russian state-owned news agency showing an Iskander-M launch vehicle being loaded with a ballistic missile during military exercises at a Russian firing range in Ussuriysk in 2016.Credit…Yuri Smityuk/TASS, via Getty Images

In destructive power, the behemoths of the Cold War dwarfed the American atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Washington’s biggest test blast was 1,000 times as large. Moscow’s was 3,000 times. On both sides, the idea was to deter strikes with threats of vast retaliation — with mutual assured destruction, or MAD. The psychological bar was so high that nuclear strikes came to be seen as unthinkable.

“Nuclear Weapons Must Be Eliminated, Not Reinforced”

STATEMENT BY MOST REVEREND JOHN C. WESTER ON WAR IN UKRAINE: “Nuclear Weapons Must Be Eliminated, Not Reinforced”

ALBUQUERQUE – Saturday, March 19, 2022 – IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe has made the following statement on the War in Ukraine:

We watch in horror as a brutal land war erupts, threatening all of Europe, which seems inconceivable after the end of the Cold War some thirty years ago. We pray for the safety and well-being of both Ukrainians and Russians and hope that God’s light and our own sanctified work towards justice and redemption can lead us to a lasting peace. In particular, we pray for the multitude of refugees and children who are having their lives destroyed by needless and unjustified violence. No matter what language they speak or which ruler they pledge allegiance to, may the Lord protect all of our brothers and sisters through the grace of God! This has been our intention during the novena for Ukraine that we are currently praying in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Two months ago I released my pastoral letter, “Living in the Light Of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament.”

Considering that letter and given the renewed fear of nuclear war that the Ukraine invasion has prompted, I feel compelled to address the important issue of nuclear disarmament.

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I’m Worried About Ukraine, but it’s Not What You Think

“In the end, it is situations like the war in Ukraine that demonstrate exactly why we need to find ways to reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons.” – Dr. Tara Drozdenko of the Union of Concerned Scientists

By Tara Drozdenko, Director, Global Security Program | March 15, 2022 allthingsnuclear.org

his intercontinental ballistic missile was launched as part of Russia’s test of its strategic forces in 2020. Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

As someone who works on nuclear weapons policy for a living, I’ve been getting questions from family and friends about the war in Ukraine and the risk of nuclear use. My colleagues are getting similar questions. Most of these questions boil down to, “Should we be worried?” or “How worried should I be?”

I think concern is a healthy response to this conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued veiled threats of nuclear use and neighboring Belarus has paved the way to host nuclear weapons on its territory. Things are tense. And if NATO countries were somehow pulled into the conflict—even by accident—there is some chance this war could turn nuclear. So far, the US and other NATO countries have been very careful that there not be any misunderstandings, including cancelling a planned test launch of a Minute Man III missile.

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