Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the world’s divisions since the last review conference in 2015, which ended without a consensus document, had grown, adding that Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war had contributed to “global concern that once again, destruction by the use of nuclear weapons is a real possibility.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Moscow’s “reckless nuclear rhetoric” following its invasion of its smaller neighbor “jeopardizes everything the NPT has achieved in five decades”.
Putin appeared to back down on his nuclear warning in a greeting message to NPT participants posted on his website on Monday.
“We believe that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community,” the Russian leader said.
Blinken also noted that Russia has seized Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhya and is using it as a military base to shoot at Ukrainians, “knowing that they can’t and won’t fight back because they might accidentally hit a nuclear reactor or highly radioactive waste.” at the warehouse.” He said this takes the concept of having “a human shield to a whole different and horrific level”.
Russia’s delegation to the NPT issued a statement Monday night strongly rejecting Blinken’s claim that Russia is using the Zaporizhzhya plant as a military base, saying a limited number of soldiers are there “to ensure safety and security at the plant energy production”.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the conflict in Ukraine is “so serious that the specter of a possible nuclear confrontation or accident has reared its terrifying head again.”
He warned that at the Zaporizhia nuclear plant “the situation is becoming more dangerous by the day” and urged all countries to help make his visit to the plant possible with a team of IAEA experts, citing his efforts over the past two months were unsuccessful.
Guterres said the month-long review conference was taking place “at a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.”
The conference is “an opportunity to take steps that will help avoid certain disasters and put humanity on a new path toward a world without nuclear weapons,” he said.
But Guterres warned that “geopolitical weapons are reaching new highs”, nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are in arsenals around the world and countries seeking “false security” are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on “doomsday weapons”.
“All this at a time when proliferation risks are rising and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening,” he said, “And when crises — with nuclear undertones — flare up from the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula to the invasion of Ukraine. Russia and many other factors around the world.”