Humanity is just ‘one miscalculation away’ from nuclear war per UN Chief

Russia’s dangerous nuclear rhetoric
A nuclear danger not seen since the cold war
Fears that crises could escalate
One miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation
Towards a world free of nuclear weapons
The only guarantee they will never be used
13,000 nuclear weapons held in arsenals around the world
A pledge for dissemination of nuclear weapons
A nuclear war cannot be won
They urged Russia to respect the NPT
Putin said Russia remains faithful to the treaty
North Korea and Iran
A US-Russia treaty that will expire in 2026
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty is reviewed every five years
Division within the international community
Giving up is not an option
Russia’s dangerous nuclear rhetoric

United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, has warned that a misunderstanding could spark nuclear destruction, as the United States, Britain and France urged Russia to stop “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour”.

A nuclear danger not seen since the cold war

At the opening of a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, Guterres (pictured) warned that the world faced “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the cold war”.

Fears that crises could escalate

Citing Russia’s war with Ukraine and tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East, Guterres said he feared that crises “with nuclear undertones” could escalate.

One miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres told the 10th review conference of the NPT, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Towards a world free of nuclear weapons

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he added, calling on nations to “put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.

The only guarantee they will never be used

“Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used,” the secretary general said, adding that he would visit Hiroshima for the anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the Japanese city on 6 August 1945.

13,000 nuclear weapons held in arsenals around the world

“Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world. All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening,” Guterres added.

A pledge for dissemination of nuclear weapons

In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: the US, China, Russia, Britain and France, had pledged to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

A nuclear war cannot be won

On Monday, the US, Britain and France reaffirmed their commitment in a joint statement, saying a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

They urged Russia to respect the NPT

The three also took aim at Russia, which announced it had placed its nuclear forces on alert shortly after its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, and urged Moscow to respect its international commitments under the NPT.

Putin said Russia remains faithful to the treaty

President Vladimir Putin insisted that Russia remained faithful to the treaty’s “letter and spirit” and that there could be “no winners” in a nuclear war, according to the Kremlin.

North Korea and Iran

While many speeches focused on Russia, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, also denounced North Korea, which “continues to expand its unlawful nuclear programme”, and Iran, which “remains on a path of nuclear escalation.”

A US-Russia treaty that will expire in 2026

President Joe Biden called on Russia and China to enter nuclear arms control talks in an earlier statement. Biden said his administration was ready to negotiate a replacement to ‘New Start’, the treaty capping intercontinental nuclear forces in the U.S. and Russia, which will expire in 2026.

The nuclear non-proliferation treaty is reviewed every five years

The NPT, which the 191 signatories review every five years, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote complete disarmament and promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Division within the international community

At the last review conference in 2015, the parties were unable to reach agreement on substantive issues. “Since then, the division within the international community has become only greater,” lamented the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida (pictured).

Giving up is not an option

“A path to a world without nuclear weapons has become even harder. Nevertheless giving up is not an option, added Kishida on his speech.

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