Yesterday three weeks have passed since Russian troops began their invasion of Ukraine and, like it or not, the world has changed a lot in this short period.

Not since the Russian missile crisis in Cuba that pitted the United States against the former Soviet Union in 1962 has humanity been as close as it is now to total annihilation by nuclear war. The new Russian tsar, Vladimir Putin, complicated the conflict when just three days after invading he ordered his nuclear forces to stay on high alert.

Using as a pretext what he called NATO’s “aggressive statements” and harsh financial sanctions the severity of which he may never have imagined, his order raised fears that his invasion could escalate into nuclear war, either by design or by mistake.

By putting his nuclear forces on alert, Putin told his enemies that he is ready to use them if necessary. Whether or not he was serious is irrelevant, because a threat like yours is best taken seriously.

Therefore, NATO has not sent troops to Ukraine or imposed a no-fly zone over that country. Putin has said that the presence of troops from any NATO country on Ukrainian territory would amount to a declaration of war against Russia and that his government and armed forces would act accordingly.

US President Joe Biden has been clear in saying that in order to prevent a Third World War no army from the Atlantic alliance will enter Ukraine and that the aid that his country and others give to the government of Volodymyr Zelensky is limited to defensive weapons capable of bringing down missiles, drones, planes and helicopters, destroy tanks and ground units and injure or kill Russian soldiers.

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Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association and publisher of Arms Control Today monthly magazine, wrote this a few days ago on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ site “Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine it will probably last for many weeks, if not months or more… the world will remain in a condition of heightened nuclear danger for some time. The situation calls for restraint and a diplomatic solution. But once the war in Ukraine is over there must be a serious reckoning with the role nuclear weapons play in the military strategies of nuclear-armed countries around the world and renewed pressure for action to eliminate them.”

In Mexico, the danger of a nuclear war that would affect us all does not seem to worry President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has never offered to act as a mediator between the warring parties, despite the fact that on March 1 he said that Mexico will not sanction Russia because “we want to be in a position to be able to talk with the parties in conflict.”

Obviously, it is more important for him to inaugurate an unfinished airport or validate his popularity through a Revocation of Mandate process, the result of which in his favor is beyond any doubt.

For those of us who do care about bigger issues, we can only hope that the Russo-Ukrainian conflict does not escalate, either by design or by mistake.

Facebook: Eduardo J Ruiz-Healy

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