The world is one miscalculation away from “nuclear annihilation” and faces risks not seen since the Cold War, UN chief António Guterres said Monday (August 1st), citing threats in Ukraine, the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.
“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield against geopolitical tensions that lead to nuclear conflict,” António Guterres said at the conference. on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York.
“The elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will never be used,” he added.
Nuclear stocks have been reduced since the Cold War, but the risk of using nuclear weapons remains high.
Russia, the US, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have a combined inventory of almost 13,000 nuclear weapons – but current geopolitical tensions have heightened fears of further proliferation and the risks of nuclear escalation.
The 10th NPT Review Conference is an opportunity to strengthen the treaty and “adapt it to the disturbing world around us”, said António Guterres, urging nations to make efforts to create a world without nuclear weapons.
In January, the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom all asserted that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February has sparked widespread concerns about global nuclear security.
In his speech, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said Europe faces a conflict “so serious” that the risk of a potential nuclear confrontation, or an accident , increased again.
Grossi also said that if an accident happened at Zaporizhzhya, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine, currently occupied by Russian soldiers, there would be no natural disaster to blame.
“Following Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, we call on Russia to cease its irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behavior,” France, the United States and the United Kingdom said. United in a statement.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched attacks in Ukraine, he warned the West that any attempt to interfere “will lead you to such consequences as you have never encountered in your history”.
Nevertheless, Russia reiterated on Monday that there would be “no winners” in a nuclear war.
“We start from the fact that there can be no winner in a nuclear war and that it should never be started, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community,” Putin said in a statement. a letter to the participants of the NPT Conference.
The NPT, which is reviewed every five years, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to contribute to the achievement of nuclear disarmament.