Russian-Ukrainian crisis: Any attack on a nuclear power plant is “suicidal”, says UN chief António Guterres | THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Agencies | New York

The Daily Tribune –

Any attack on a nuclear power plant is “suicidal”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday after fresh bombardments hit a huge nuclear complex in southern Ukraine.

Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the latest strike at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear site, which has been under Russian control since the early days of the war.

The fighting at the plant on Friday prompted the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to warn of “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.

At a press conference in Tokyo, António Guterres condemned such attacks, without directly saying which party was responsible.

“We support the IAEA in its efforts to create the conditions for stabilization of this plant,” he said.

“Any attack on a nuclear power plant is a suicidal thing. I hope these attacks will end, and at the same time I hope the IAEA can gain access to the plant.”

His comments followed a visit to Hiroshima over the weekend, where Guterres delivered a speech to mark the 77th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear bomb attack.

In the Japanese city on Saturday, he warned that “humanity is playing with a loaded gun” as crises with the potential for nuclear catastrophe proliferate around the world, from Ukraine to the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.

The 73-year-old Portuguese also issued a stark warning against the horrors of atomic weapons a week ago in New York at a key conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which he reiterated on Monday.

“We are seeing a radicalization of the geopolitical situation which again makes the risk of nuclear war, something that we cannot completely forget,” he said.

Asked about China’s massive military exercises around Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week, António Guterres said the UN was respecting “a resolution of the General Assembly, the so-called one-China policy”.

“But we all want this resolution to correspond to a peaceful environment,” he said, calling for common sense and restraint, to allow for an “extremely important” de-escalation (of the conflict).

Christi C. Elwood