Shadow of Chernobyl looms over Europe again: Polish deputy FM

A Polish deputy foreign minister has said that the shadow of a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster was again looming over Europe due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Marcin Przydacz.

Marcin Przydacz.PAP/Piotr Nowak

Marcin Przydacz made the statement at the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Addressing the gathering in New York on Tuesday, Przydacz noted that 160 days have already passed since the beginning of the Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine … an attempt to subjugate and destroy another state, characteristic of colonial thinking.”

The Polish deputy foreign minister added: “Russian threats of using nuclear weapons continue. Its strategic forces are being put on high alert in the midst of the full-fledged conflict.” 

Przydacz said that Russia was staging „attacks against nuclear power plants and installations in Ukraine.”

He cautioned that „the risk of miscalculation” was growing and that the „nuclear safety and security of Ukraine” was being challenged.

’Clear and direct threat to global peace and security’

Przydacz warned: “The shadow of the Chernobyl-like disaster looms over Europe again. All these aggressive actions are in contradiction with the spirit and the letter of international commitments undertaken by Russia in the nuclear sphere; this terrorist state behavior constitutes a clear and direct threat to global peace and security.”

He told the conference: “In such demanding times, our expectations towards the Review Conference shall be ambitious, but realistic.”

Call for new nuclear-arms control treaty

Noting that “the future of the arms control global system … is already a source of concern,” Przydacz said that “the new [US-Russia] Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)” should „lead to a broader follow-on treaty which covers all nuclear weapons, including non-strategic ones in Europe.”

He added that China “should constructively engage in these efforts.”

The 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons runs from August 1 to 26. 

At the launch of the event, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that humanity was “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” adding: “We need the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as much as ever.”

Wednesday is day 161 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, press.un.org

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