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Nuclear weapons a ‘loaded gun’, UN chief warns in Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA, Japan: “Humanity is playing with a loaded gun” as crises with the potential for nuclear catastrophe proliferate worldwide, UN head Antonio Guterres mentioned in Hiroshima on Saturday (Aug 6), the 77th anniversary of the primary atomic bomb assault.

At an annual memorial, Guterres warned of the chance posed by crises in Ukraine, the Middle East and the Korean peninsula as he described the horrors endured by the Japanese metropolis.

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

Survivors have been “cursed with a radioactive legacy” of most cancers and different well being issues.

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

Around 140,000 individuals died when Hiroshima was bombed by the United States on Aug 6, 1945 – a toll that features those that perished after the blast from radiation publicity.

Today, “crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast – the Middle East, to the Korean peninsula, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”, Guterres mentioned, repeating warnings he made this week at a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty convention in New York.

“Humanity is playing with a loaded gun.”

Before daybreak, survivors and their relations started to assemble at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park to supply flowers and prayers.

A silent prayer was held at 8.15 am, the second the bomb was dropped.

The Russian ambassador was not invited to the ceremony however visited Hiroshima on Thursday to put flowers on the memorial website.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled threats hinting at a willingness to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.

In a speech on Saturday, Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui cited Leo Tolstoy, the Russian creator of “War and Peace”, saying: “Never build your happiness on the misfortune of others, for only in their happiness can you find your own.”

Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, Washington dropped a plutonium bomb on the Japanese port metropolis of Nagasaki, killing about 74,000 individuals and resulting in the top of World War II.

The United States stays the one nation ever to have used nuclear weapons in battle.

But round 13,000 are actually held in state arsenals worldwide, the UN head mentioned.

Saturday was the primary time Guterres attended the Hiroshima memorial in particular person, with a go to final 12 months cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.