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UN Secretary-General Guterres warns of nuclear arms race

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United Nations, Aug 08: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the risk of a nuclear arms race was returning to the world, and implored nuclear-armed countries to stick to their no-first-use policies.

"This is the moment to ask the nuclear-armed countries to commit to the principle of non-first-use and to commit to not use and not threaten the non-nuclear countries," he said.

UN Secretary-General Guterres warns of nuclear arms race

Guterres is in Tokyo two days after he visited Hiroshima to commemorate victims of the August 6, 1945, atomic bombing. The anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing is on August 9.

Russia's threat of a nuclear attack against Ukraine has recently flamed the fears of a third atomic bombing.

World has never been more threatened or divided, we must wake up: UN chief Antonio GuterresWorld has never been more threatened or divided, we must wake up: UN chief Antonio Guterres

"I think that nobody, nobody can accept the idea that a new nuclear war would happen. This will be the destruction of the planet," Guterres said. "What is clear is if nobody uses for the first time then there will be no nuclear war."

He said that recent modernization of nuclear arsenals shows that the world is "moving backwards" — after a period in the aftermath of the Cold War when the numbers of nuclear warheads started to be reduced. The billions of dollars being used in the arms race should be spent on more pressing issues such as fighting climate change and poverty instead, he said.

Ukrainian nuclear plant shelled

The UN chief's warning also came at a time when Moscow shelled the Ukrainian city with Europe's largest nuclear plant on Thursday.

Guterres decried the fighting in Ukraine for control of the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, calling any attack on a nuclear power plant "a suicidal thing." Ukraine on the weekend accused Russia of shellfire near the site, which is in the control of Russian forces but being administered by Ukrainian technicians.

He said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needed urgent access to the plant.

Guterres warns of 'nuclear annihilation' at NPT talksGuterres warns of 'nuclear annihilation' at NPT talks

Meanwhile, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi also warned that the latest attack "underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster".

Guterres will also be going to Mongolia and South Korea to discuss ways to address North Korea's nuclear development.

Source: DW

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