UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’
UN head Antonio 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."
US President Joe Biden said he is ready to pursue a new nuclear arms deal with Russia and called on Moscow to act in good faith as his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said there could be no winners in any nuclear war.
Both leaders issued written statements as diplomats gathered for a month-long UN conference to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
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.
"Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," warned Guterres.
"We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy," he added, calling on nations to "put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons."
In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- had pledged to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.