UN secretary-general warns that miscalculation could lead to nuclear annihilation

With the war in Ukraine, many have warned of the possibility of an imminent nuclear conflict.

Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, has said several times since the beginning of the conflict in February that it would not hesitate to resort to nuclear weapons if necessary.

Recently, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres claimed humanity has been “extraordinarily lucky” to avoid nuclear annihilation.

On the brink of conflict

At a conference of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory countries, Guterres explained that the risk has grown in recent months, something not seen since the Cold War.

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far, but humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” he said.

In 1968, with the goal of nuclear disarmament on the horizon, most nations signed the NPT. But four countries in possession of (or suspected of possessing) weapons never signed the agreement: North Korea, India, Israel and Pakistan. Guterres says that situation means that mankind has been “very lucky” to avoid a catastrophe.

“But luck is not a strategy, nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” the UN secretary general said, referring to the possibility of reaching an agreement on the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Russia’s Ukraine accusation

Russia, throughout the conflict, has warned on numerous occasions that it will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons, especially if other countries take the step of attacking them.

In addition, they accused Ukraine of trying to acquire nuclear weapons.