WASHINGTON (AP)

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the specter of nuclear weapons, the Earth has moved closer to Armageddon, a science-based human rights group said, setting its famous Doomsday Clock just 90 seconds to midnight.

“We are really close to this end of the world,” former Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia said Tuesday at the annual Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announcement, assessing how close humanity is to doing so. He and former Irish president Mary Robinson joined the academics to stress that they are looking at a combination of several existential threats, chief among them the actions and words of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“People and scientists are warning us and we have to wake up now,” he said.

A propaganda group began using the clock in 1947 to symbolize the potential and likelihood that humans would do something to destroy humanity. This moved the hands of the clock 10 seconds closer than last year, making it the closest to 12 o’clock. It’s been 17 minutes since midnight since the end of the Cold War, but in the last few years the group has switched from counting minutes to midnight to counting seconds.

A doomsday clock stands in a broadcast studio before a virtual press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that it has advanced the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock by 90 seconds. until midnight. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Judgment day has not yet come.

“We are sending a message that the situation is becoming increasingly urgent,” Bulletin President Rachel Bronson said in an interactive message. “Crisis may be more likely to occur and have wider implications and longer-lasting effects.”

And to highlight the effect that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on the approach to the theoretical end of the world, the group said it is also announcing a Russian-Ukrainian translation of the watch for the first time.

“Putin has repeatedly raised the specter of using nuclear weapons,” said Steve Fetter, dean of graduate studies and professor of public policy at the University of Maryland.

“Putin has given no indication that he is ready to accept defeat,” Fetter said. “He may take desperate measures if there are no other options he deems acceptable.”

Scientists and activists in the Bulletin’s announcement also mentioned China’s nuclear proliferation, Iran increasing its uranium enrichment, North Korea’s missile tests, future animal disease pandemics, pathogens from laboratory errors, “disruptive technologies” and worsening climate change in qualities of other existential threats. to humanity.

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