As Russia began amassing troops near the Ukrainian border, five of the world's nuclear powers pledged not to use nukes in the event of a global war.
"We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented," reads a 'rare' joint statement by China, France, Russia, the UK and US, seemingly out of left field.
"A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the statement continues - echoing a 1985 joint statement from former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev following a summit in Geneva amid the cold war.
"Nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war."
The curiously-timed statement by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) commits that nations will "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control," according to DW.
The joint pledge was issued ahead of what was to be the latest review of the Treaty of the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The tenth review session which was scheduled to take place at UN headquarters in New York this month, was postponed to later this year.
China's Xinhau media agency quoted Foreign Minister Ma Zhauxu as saying that the joint agreement "will help increase mutual trust and replace competition among major powers with coordination and cooperation."
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "We hope that in the current difficult conditions of international security, the approval of such a political statement will help reduce the level of international tensions." -DW
The Non-Proliferation Treaty was created in the 1970s to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology, with the ultimate goal of complete nuclear disarmament - while allowing for the peaceful use of nuclear power.