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Nuclear weapons a ‘loaded weapon’ warns UN chief in Hiroshima

#Nuclear #weapons #loaded #weapon #warns #chief #Hiroshima

“Humanity is toying with a loaded gun” as crises with the potential for nuclear catastrophe spread around the world, UN chief Antonio Guterres said in Hiroshima on Saturday, the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bombing.

At an annual commemoration, Guterres warned of the risks posed by crises in Ukraine, the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula as he described the horrors the Japanese city has endured.

“Tens of thousands of people were killed in the blink of an eye in this city. Women, children and men were burned in a hellish fire,” he said.

Survivors were “cursed with a radioactive legacy” of cancer and other health problems.

“We must ask: What have we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled over this city?”

Around 140,000 people died when Hiroshima was bombed by the United States on August 6, 1945 – a number that includes those who died from radiation exposure after the blast.

Today, “crises with heavy nuclear overtones are spreading rapidly — from the Middle East, to the Korean Peninsula, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Guterres said, echoing warnings he made at a NPT conference in New York this week would have.

“Humanity is playing with a loaded gun.”

Before dawn, survivors and their families gathered at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park to offer flowers and pray.

At 8:15 am, just as the bomb was dropped, a silent prayer was held.

The Russian ambassador was not invited to the ceremony but visited Hiroshima on Thursday to lay flowers at the memorial.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin has issued thinly veiled threats that indicate a readiness to use tactical nuclear weapons.

In a speech on Saturday, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui quoted Leo Tolstoy, the Russian author of War and Peace, as saying: “Never build your happiness on the misfortunes of others, for only in their happiness can you build yours.” find your own.”

Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, Washington dropped a plutonium bomb on the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, killing about 74,000 people and leading to the end of World War II.

The United States remains the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in conflict.

But around 13,000 are now being held in government arsenals around the world, the UN chief said.

Guterres made his first personal visit to the Hiroshima Memorial on Saturday, after a visit last year was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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