Watching with great trepidation the peaking nuclear confrontation in
Ukraine, the worst since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we, collectives of
ordinary citizens in South Asia, are both, shocked and deeply concerned.

The repeated nuclear threats made by the Russian President since his
country’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, warning the world
against coming in his way ("must know that Russia will respond immediately,
and the consequences will be such") has few parallels in recent history.
Alarmingly, these threats have been duly backed up with a matching
threatening posture <>, viz. by placing
"the strategic nuclear forces on special alert", and have subsequently,
been reiterate
*d* by Putin’s associates.

Alongside these horrifyingly unprecedented developments, it is completely
unacceptable that the Zaporizhzhia
power plant in Ukraine -- the largest in Europe housing six nuclear
reactors – has become the site of military capture by Russia and an active
exchange of fire between the warring sides. The very real and alarming
possibility of the plant becoming a target of military shelling and
explosions goes against the basic tenets of the rules of international
warfare, that is, the impacts of armed conflicts must be contained in time
and space and should not affect non-combatants.

The UN nuclear body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on
March 2, on being informed by Russia of the seizure of the nuclear plant on
the previous day cautioned
any military or other action that could threaten the safety or security of
the plant must be avoided. Regardless, things have taken a turn for the
worse and, eventually, amid claims, counterclaims, abject lack of public
information, and nerve-racking tensions, an IAEA team reached the site for
an on-ground inspection only on August 31
Since then, a team has been stationed
the site, which has had only a marginal impact on the ground situation.

Amid these tensions, NATO, the Western military alliance, in late October,
its annual nuclear preparedness drills as had been scheduled prior to the
invasion. Such continued escalation and the brazen neglect of global
opinion for almost a year is highly condemnable.

Thus, *there are clearly two interconnected, yet discrete, sources of
nuclear threats in the given situation: (i) nuclear weapons and (ii)
nuclear power **plants*
being in turn a potential source of massive release of radioactive
materials a la **Chernobyl*
<>* or **Fukushima*
<>* -- in conflict zones*

These developments concern us and people across the globe as the threats
posed by nuclear weapons continue to rise and widen. It bears mentioning
that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recorded
at the start of 2022, nine states -- the United States, Russia, the United
Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) -- possessed approximately 12,705
nuclear weapons, of which 9440 were estimated to be in military stockpiles
for potential use. About 3732 of these warheads were estimated to be
deployed with operational forces, and around 2000 of these were kept in a
state of high operational alert.

In the wake of such apocalyptic possibilities, the* National Alliance of
Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM) demands an immediate cessation of the ongoing
invasion and hostilities, regular and credible dissemination of information
to the public by the IAEA and/or the parties to the conflict, and thereby
to ensure that a tragic nuclear disaster and potentially calamitous
humanitarian crisis, is averted.*

*National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM)*

December 27, 2022

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