Ukraine update: UN warns of moving backward in nuclear disarmament

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on countries with nuclear weapons to adhere to the no-first-use commitment of their atomic arsenals. Guterres warned that increased global tensions and conflict have reinvigorated the nuclear arms race following decades of disarmament efforts, warning that the world is now “moving backwards,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Guterres spoke at a news conference in Tokyo following a trip to Hiroshima to commemorate victims of the atomic bombing of Aug. 6, 1945. He pointed out that there are currently 13,000 nuclear bombs in the world, with some countries now investing heavily into modernizing their atomic arsenals. 

“I think that nobody, nobody can accept the idea that a new nuclear war would happen. This will be the destruction of the planet. What is clear is if nobody uses for the first time, then there will be no nuclear war,” Guterres said.

More ships loaded with agricultural goods prepare to set sail from Ukraine 

Six more cargo ships loaded with agricultural products were given the all-clear to depart from Ukraine’s Black Sea coast Monday, according to the Joint Coordination Center. The group is overseeing an international agreement to get roughly 20 million tons of grain held up by Russian blockades out of Ukraine with the hope of feeding millions facing starvation in Africa, parts of Asia, and the Middle East.

The cargo ships are carrying more than 219,000 tons of corn, 6,600 tons of sunflower oil, and 11,000 tons of soy.

The shipments are part of a deal reached on Aug. 1 between the U.N., Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey to create a safe, 11-mile channel to allow Ukraine’s agricultural exports to resume, though things are reportedly moving more slowly than anticipated. The first vessel that left Ukraine last Monday under the agreement was scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Sunday but has been delayed for unspecified reasons, according to a Lebanese official and Ukraine’s embassy. 

Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shelling of nuclear power plant

Ukraine and Russia continue to accuse one another of shelling the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – which came under fire late Saturday. 

Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator, Energoatom, said shelling damaged three radiation monitors around the storage facility and claimed that one worker was injured. Energoatom also said Russian troops stationed at the plant were evacuated ahead of the shelling, indicating that the Kremlin was behind the attack. Russian news agencies denied this report, saying that Ukrainian forces were responsible for firing the shells.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently warned that the state of the plant’s operations coupled with nearby fighting posed significant health and environmental threats.

Kyiv is now calling for the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the plant, Reuters reported.

Energoatom head Petro Kotin requested that a team of peacekeepers be dispatched to the site, which is still operated by Ukrainian technicians.

“The decision that we demand from the world community and all our partners … is to withdraw the invaders from the territory of the station and create a demilitarized zone on the territory of the station,” Kotin said on Ukrainian television.

“The presence of peacekeepers in this zone and the transfer of control of it to them, and then also control of the station to the Ukrainian side would resolve this problem.”