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Ukraine and nuclear weapons

September 11, 2014

Ukraine is going to make nuclear weapons. You’ll see. There is strong support in the parliament. All the intercontinental missiles in the Soviet Union were made in Ukraine, and there are at least 25 of them left. And we have uranium. And we have the know-how. Just wait, you’ll see”

So said a prior officer in the Ukrainian army whom I met a week ago. This prediction, that Ukraine is going to make nukes, can also be found in some western news media.

Fortunately, this is not going to happen. Read more…

No more nuclear weapons testing

September 8, 2014
nuclear test

A complete halt to all nuclear weapons testing is within reach. The testing of nuclear weapons is already prohibited under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996.

The problem is that not enough countries have yet ratified the treaty for it to enter into force. Along with 159 other governments, the nuclear-weapon-possessing states that have ratified the treaty so far are Great Britain, France, and Russia, while the US and China are still reluctant to do so, for who knows what reason ( ). Read more…

IPPNW statement on crisis in Gaza

September 8, 2014

[IPPNW’s International Council adopted the following statement on the Gaza crisis at its meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on August 29.]

Gaza Declaration

IPPNW World Congress

Astana, Kazakhstan

28th August 2014

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) received the Nobel Prize in 1985 for creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and advocating prevention by abolishing nuclear weapons. It was essentially a universal public health project and an exercise in preventive medicine. IPPNW continues to advocate the same humanitarian principles.

IPPNW is extremely concerned that the ongoing military conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is not only undermining nuclear disarmament regionally and globally but also resulting in massive urban destruction and the mounting loss of civilian lives. Unless the root causes of the conflict are addressed, it will recur. Read more…

Wars and peace in Kazakhstan

September 4, 2014

Guest editorial

by Tony Waterston

[Ed. note: This article was originally published on the BMJ Blog and is reprinted here with permission.]

“What has International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) achieved anyway?” The question posed at a workshop on primary prevention needed answering, since the 21st IPPNW Congress meeting we were at coincided with major wars in Gaza, Syria, and Ukraine. Not even the most ardent members of IPPNW would expect our organisation to prevent all war, but we did get the Nobel peace prize in 1985 for warning the world about nuclear war. Read more…

IPPNW World Congress issues Astana Declaration

September 2, 2014

Astana Declaration

IPPNW 21st World Congress

30 August 2014


For more than 50 years, physicians concerned with the medical, environmental and humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons have documented the extreme and unacceptable consequences of their use. The evidence accumulated over the decades since the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has convinced us that only the complete and rapid elimination of nuclear weapons from the world can assure us of a future. Even in a world without nuclear weapons, we face severe challenges from unsustainable living patterns, global warming, militarism and armed violence, economic inequalities, resource depletion, and the inexcusable poverty that afflicts billions of people on Earth. Only in a world without nuclear weapons, however, will we have a chance to solve those problems. The renewed awakening to the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that is now driving a political initiative for their abolition is the most hopeful development in more than 20 years since the end of the Cold War. Read more…

Statement of IPPNW physicians on the situation in the Ukraine

September 2, 2014

In 1985, at the height of the Cold War, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its East-West cooperation to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. The current crisis in Ukraine requires us to remind President Obama in the USA and President Putin in Russia that there are still thousands of nuclear weapons on high alert, set to launch on warning within minutes.

We know—and have new evidence—that even a small percentage of those weapons, if launched, would kill millions of people immediately, and would alter our climate in ways not seen since the last ice age—quite possibly killing 1-2 billion people. The current arsenals of Russia and the USA, totaling around 15,000 warheads, are sufficient to literally end life on this planet several times over.

The current crisis in Ukraine is of complex origin and of large humanitarian consequence.  It may lead to Ukraine re-acquiring nuclear weapons (which they voluntarily renounced in 1991). It threatens to re-ignite the Cold War and risks involving the use of nuclear weapons accidentally or on purpose.

As Russian, American, Ukrainian, and German doctors and leaders of IPPNW, we together call upon the parties to immediately cease the violence and to re-emphasize diplomatic communication between the USA and Russia, to assist Ukraine to resolve the crisis peacefully.

Furthermore, we hope the parties recognize the potential existential threat posed by a return to nuclear-armed antagonism. We call for renewed efforts to finally negotiate an end to the risk of nuclear war by making the historic decision to take the weapons off high alert and then ban and eliminate them. We are living in the most dangerous time since the end of World War II, and this is our joint prescription for our survival.

Vladimir Garkavenko, IPPNW Co-President

Ira Helfand, IPPNW Co-President

Olena Bezsmertna, International Councillor, IPPNW Ukraine

Helmut Lohrer. International Councillor, IPPNW Germany

On behalf of the IPPNW Board and International Council

Pay enough attention and nuclear weapons condemn themselves

August 8, 2014
Hiroshima in ruins

The city of Hiroshima lay in ruins after the US atomic bombing on August 6, 1945—69 years ago this week.

Each year, in August, we are reminded, to our sorrow, about nuclear weapons, the horrors they unleash, and the shame they bring to humankind—first, for having created them at all, and then for having tolerated their existence this long. The US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which we commemorate this week, put the world on notice almost 70 years ago that war had reached a point of no return. We woke up to discover that we had weapons powerful enough to end humanity itself. Our response to that dilemma, as we realized even then, would determine for all time whether humanity had been worth the bother. Sadly, the jury is still out. Read more…


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