U.N. chief warns that nuclear war is “within the realm of possibility”

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the U.N. Secretary-General is warning that Russia has raised the alert level of its nuclear forces.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks to press ab...
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As Russia’s indefensible invasion of Ukraine continues, getting more brutal and deadly by the day, the United Nations is warning that Russia is putting the world at risk. On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to raise the alert level for his nation’s nuclear forces may be pushing us closer to the brink of a nuclear war.

“The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility,” Guterres said. He said that Russia’s decision to place nuclear forces on “high alert” was a “bone-chilling development,” and warned “further escalation of the war, whether by accident or design, threatens all of humanity.”

None of that is particularly reassuring. It’s worth noting that Russia ordered its nuclear forces to be put on high alert back in February at the start of its invasion, presumably as an attempt to deter Western intervention in the conflict. But while it may be posturing, any sort of threat of nuclear war is taken seriously. Neither the U.S. nor NATO have responded in kind, choosing not to match the escalation for fear of plunging us into a nuclear war. While that’s probably the right decision, it’s deeply disturbing that we’re at this point.