During a meeting in Tokyo on Monday with the National Press Club of Japan, the General secretary The UN condemned the recent attack on a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
“Any attack on nuclear plants is suicidal,” António Guterres said, adding that he hopes the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can access the facilities for inspection.
Over the weekend, both Moscow and Kyiv have denied responsibility for the strike being carried out by workers at the Zaporizhia plant.
Although Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since the first days of the war, Ukrainian technicians are still running it.
Nuclear disaster: “Real risk”
Energoatom, the operator of Ukraine’s nuclear power plant, said Russian shelling, in which a worker was injured, damaged three radiation monitors around the spent fuel storage facility.
The bombing provoked that the director general of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, warned that the way in which Zaporizhzhia was being managed, together with the fighting around it, means “a very real risk of a nuclear disaster“.
Since then, a preliminary assessment by UN atomic monitors has found that the security and safety situation appeared stable with no immediate threat, despite several pillars at the plant breaking.
“We support the IAEA in its efforts to create stabilization conditions for that plant,” said the Secretary General, who expressed hope that the UN agency will soon be able to access Zaporizhzhia.
Ukraine-Russia peace agreement
When asked why a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine had not yet been finalized, the UN Secretary-General said that they had been working very closely with Türkiye, which had “launched a new initiative regarding a possible start of peace negotiations”.
But he explained that Ukraine cannot accept that “its territory is taken by another country”, and that Russia “does not seem to be ready to accept” that areas it had taken “are not annexed to the Russian Federation or become new independent states”. .
Upside down world
Guterres’ comments followed his visit to Hiroshima over the weekend, where the Secretary-General marked the 77th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear attack (August 6, 1945) by the United States. This attack destroyed the city and killed 14,000 people.
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, Fears of a third atomic bombing have risen due to Russian threats of a nuclear attack..
During Monday’s press conference, António Guterres reiterated his warning about the use of nuclear weapons, saying that if they are used, the UN probably won’t be able to respond because “we may not all be here anymore.”
He also warned that after decades of nuclear disarmament efforts, we are “going backwards” as the world currently has 13,000 nuclear bombs while continuing to invest heavily in modernizing atomic arsenals.
“Enough”, he sentenced, emphasizing that the billions of dollars being spent on the arms race should be used to “fight climate changecombat poverty and address the needs of the international community”.
The Secretary-General will soon travel to Mongolia and South Korea to discuss ways to address North Korea’s nuclear development