The specter of nuclear war hangs over the world, as war rages in Ukraine and tensions rise between Russia and the West. The UN once again warned, Monday, August 1, against this immense risk for humanity. The latter is only "a misunderstanding" or "an error of judgment" from "nuclear annihilation", thus affirmed the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, estimating that such a "nuclear danger does not had not been known since the height of the Cold War".
“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy or a shield to prevent geopolitical tensions from escalating into nuclear conflict,” he continued at the opening of a conference of 191 countries signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Shortly after, Vladimir Putin reaffirmed his opposition to the use of nuclear weapons. Without further details.
In a message published on the Kremlin website on Monday August 1 and addressed to the signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), Vladimir Putin assured that Russia continued to follow "the letter and the spirit" of this document. "We start from the principle that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that the latter must never be triggered", thus indicated Putin.
Since the invasion in Ukraine, which began 160 days ago, Vladimir Putin has continued to repeat his opposition to the use of atomic weapons, while recalling that he possesses them. His nuclear forces are on “high alert” and the head of state promises “lightning fast” retaliation in the event of direct Western intervention in Ukraine. A "nuclear rhetoric" and an "irresponsible and dangerous attitude" which must "stop", according to the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which spoke out on Monday in a joint statement.
In addition, the Biden administration has said it is ready to quickly negotiate a new treaty capping nuclear forces, while the one signed between the United States and Russia is due to expire in 2026. "Russia should demonstrate that it is ready to get back to work on nuclear arms control," Biden said.
These are not nuclear, but should allow Ukraine to resist. The United States announced on Monday that it will send new weapons to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion worth $550 million, including ammunition for rocket launchers that are increasingly important in the battle.
This aid will in particular "include more ammunition for the systems (...) Himars", affirmed a spokesman for the White House, John Kirby, to the press. This brings the total amount of military assistance given to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office to more than $8 billion, he said. The new aid will also include 75,000 155mm rounds, the Pentagon said in a statement. "The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities," the Pentagon said.
Ukraine has already announced that it has received new multiple launch rocket systems from the United States and Germany, bolstering its long-range artillery arsenal, which kyiv says is changing the dynamics on the field of battle. Four new US HIMARS rocket launchers and the first of a batch of German MARS IIs have arrived in Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Twitter.
While the Russian bombardments are increasing all over the territory and in the Donbass, Putin's priority, the Ukrainian forces have indicated that they have taken over 46 localities in the strategic region of Kherson, in the south of the country, within the framework of a counteroffensive. "To date, 46 occupied localities have been liberated in the Kherson region," Kherson region governor Dmytro Boutry told state television.
According to him, these villages are in the northern part of the region, on the border with that of Dnipropetrovsk and in the southern part on the border with the heavily bombed Mykolaiv region. Some of the recaptured villages "have been 90% destroyed and are still under constant fire", regretted the official.
Economic sanctions, especially harmful for the West? A recent study by the Yale University School of Management dismantles the idea that the measures taken to limit the Russian war effort would mainly penalize Westerners. According to their analysis, "the departures of American and European companies, as well as the sanctions, are crippling the Russian economy, in the short and long term.
The picture is bleak: "Despite the illusions of self-sufficiency and import substitution (...), Russian domestic production has come to a complete halt and does not have the capacity to replace lost companies, products and talents “, say the authors, estimate that companies that have left the country represent 40% of GDP. To overcome these weaknesses, Vladimir Putin "is resorting to unsustainable budgetary and monetary intervention", and the Kremlin's finances "are in a much more desperate situation than is admitted".
Russia banned 39 additional British figures from entering its territory on Monday, including Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer and former Prime Minister David Cameron, in response to sanctions against the offensive in Ukraine. This new list, published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, includes politicians, journalists and entrepreneurs. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, those sanctioned "contribute to London's hostile policy aimed at demonizing our country and isolating it in the international arena".