More On: Putin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that a nuclear war 'should never' be started, while the head of the United Nations warned that the strongman's war in Ukraine is 'one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away' from putting the world in danger of nuclear destruction.
Putin said these things in a letter to people who were going to a UN conference on Monday to reaffirm the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
The Russian leader said, "We start from the idea that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that it should never happen. We stand for equal and unbreakable security for everyone in the world community."
During the last five months of the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has been constantly bringing up the fact that it has nuclear weapons.
As Putin invaded Ukraine in February, he warned that interference from Western countries would have "consequences you have never seen," which many people took to mean a nuclear threat.
Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert a few days after the invasion. He said that his Western enemies had made "aggressive statements."
A month later, a Kremlin spokesman named Dmitry Peskov defended Russia's plan to use nuclear weapons if it thinks its survival is at risk.
In April, Russia carried out a planned test of a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile. Then, media run by the government made fun of the West by saying they would nuke New York.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that Monday's meeting was happening "at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and safeguards to stop escalation are weakening."
"And when nuclear crises like those in the Middle East, on the Korean Peninsula, and in Ukraine are getting worse," he said.
He said that because of these wars, "one misunderstanding or mistake is all it would take to destroy humanity with nuclear weapons."
Guterres told the politicians and diplomats in the room, "Future generations are counting on you to step back from the edge." "Now is our chance to pass this important test and end the threat of nuclear war for good."
The non-proliferation treaty has been signed by 190 countries. Under the terms of the agreement, the five original nuclear powers—the US, the UK, China, Russia, and France—are supposed to talk about getting rid of their nuclear weapons.
Powers with nukes India, Pakistan, and North Korea are not part of the treaty because they did not sign it. Israel isn't either, even though most people think it has a nuclear arsenal that it doesn't admit to.