The invasion of Ukraine and the danger of a nuclear war

nuclear war
Protest against nuclear energy, including nuclear weapons, Tokyo, Japan. 2011. Photo: Manuel Ortiz Escamez - Ethnic Media Services

By Cristian Carlos, special for Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].

A total of 50 civilians were able to leave the Azovstal plant, the last bastion of resistance in Mariupol, on Wednesday evening. The figure was provided by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a third convoy is trying to rescue the remaining civilians after being attacked by Russian troops.

It is the responsibility of all nations to ensure the safety of their citizens. Nuclear weapons are dangerous and the risk of their use must be constantly monitored. Only in this way can we ensure that the citizens of all countries of the world can live free from the fear of nuclear annihilation.

For this reason, Ethnic Media Services provided a briefing to address the tension in Europe and Asia, and the U.S. over a possible escalated nuclear weapons attack.

Andriy Iermak confirmed that 500 civilians had already been evacuated from Mariupol days ago despite continuous artillery attacks by Russian troops.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association and editor and contributor to the organization's monthly magazine, Arms Control Today, said that in the post-Cold War era, Putin's nuclear threats are "unprecedented." However, "they are right out of the script of Russia's 'nuclear deterrence' strategy" to prevent direct U.S. and NATO military intervention in Ukraine.

Kimball believes that Biden did not agree with Putin on the use of nuclear weapons, but "there is a risk of escalation due to Russian and U.S. military strategies that reserve the option of using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear threats" that could quickly become nuclear if the Russian doctrine is followed: respond or threaten a response when weapons of mass destruction are used or conventional warfare threatens existence as a state, while the United States uses its arsenal as a deterrent while leaving open the possibility of use.

Kimball therefore concludes that "in this situation of heightened nuclear risk, Russian and NATO leaders should maintain lines of communication to avoid direct conflict, refrain from actions that threaten nuclear escalation, increasing the risk of a regional nuclear war." For Kimball, it is important to resume disarmament diplomacy to reduce the risks posed by an unbridled arms race.

Michael Klare, emeritus professor of peace and global security studies at Five College and director of the Global Peace and Security Studies Program at Hampshire College, said that Taiwan has a similar case to Ukraine. He shared that China believes that Taiwan is a province that has been left behind and argued that there is a mindset that "any Taiwanese person who wants to become independent from China is a direct revolutionary attack on the government of China that must be defeated in any way."

Klare stressed that it is important to have the U.S. view of U.S. interests: "I think the U.S. attitude towards the current conflict in Taiwan that upholds the right to its independence". This has caused a stir in China, as it is seen as a direct threat from the U.S., which would lead to a tactical nuclear weapons build-up.

"In Asia we have a situation just as critical as that in Ukraine," he concluded, so "the US will not stop support for Ukraine. The U.S. will not stop support for Ukraine."

nuclear war
Map of estimated existing nuclear weapons in the world. [P360P]

Gabriela Iveliz Rosa Hernandez, a research associate at the Arms Control Association, said that the events of February 24 gave insight into the primary objectives that Russia - under Vladimir Putin - wants to establish in Ukraine, such as a demilitarization of parts of the border; however, she noted, such conflicts "can cause casualties" for both sides.

Rosa Hernandez reported that the "simplest" explanation to understand the current conflict is to see that "Russia is not happy to be losing the influence it has" in Ukrainian territory. She concluded that the "denazification" is, in reality, an attempt to make Ukraine "a less Russian country" after the agreements with NATO that could have, according to Rosa Hernandez, "US interests" that still remain unclear.

nuclear war
Peace activist demonstrates against nuclear weapons in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Japan. Photo: Manuel Ortiz Escamez - Ethnic Media Services

Rosa Hernandez's perspective allows us to glimpse that both nations are willing to put a ceasefire to the conflict, after Volodimir Zelenski appeared during the month of March to find a way to put an end to the Russian invasion appealing to Ukraine's neutrality; however, she warned that there are other scenarios where the conflict could worsen due to the intervention of neighboring nations.

As for the use of nuclear weapons, Rosa Hernandez said that Russia's use of tactical nuclear weapons, means "not being able to achieve the goals of its military campaign." "Russia is not content to lose against Ukraine," a strategy that, she says, "is not going to work."

Finally, he noted that although "the parties are holding out," there is still a long way to go to reach a cease-fire. Especially since Russia is not clear about its strategy. "Currently, I do not see that, in the short term, it will stop the conflict," he pointed out.

Andrew Nynka, editor-in-chief of The Ukrainian Weekly and Svoboda in the Ukrainian National Association, mentions that the Ukrainian community says comments questioning U.S. involvement with Ukraine does not help the debate and that it should be more involved. He says people in Ukraine have a broader view on the use of nuclear weapons. She said nations should pay attention to let Ukraine fight for itself autonomously and sovereignly.

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