The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres on Monday said the nuclear risk has climbed to its highest point in decades, following his assessment of the situation in Ukraine.
Guterres was speaking at the United Nations Security Council meeting held in New York City, United States.
“Countries with nuclear weapons must commit to the ‘no first use’ of those weapons,” he stressed, adding that they must also assure States that do not have nuclear weapons that they will not use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them – and be transparent throughout.
“We need all States to recommit to a world free of nuclear weapons and to spare no effort to come to the negotiating table to ease tensions and end the nuclear arms race, once and for all.” he said.
The risk of a nuclear disaster has been heightened in recent weeks as Russian forces continued to pound targets in eastern and southern Ukraine while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reiterated his warning that Moscow may be preparing more serious attacks ahead of Kyiv’s 31st independence anniversary.
Russian forces kept concentrating their efforts on establishing full control over the territories of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions, maintaining captured areas of the City of Kherson and parts of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, and Mykolayiv regions, according to the Kyiv military administration.
The city of Nikopol, which lies across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, was shelled on five different occasions overnight, regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on his Telegram account on Sunday.
The fighting near Zaporizhzhya and a missile strike on the southern town of Voznesensk, not far from Ukraine’s second-largest atomic plant, have triggered fears of a nuclear accident.
Moscow requested a UN Security Council meeting be held on August 23 to discuss the plant, Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy.