Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday there could be no winners in a nuclear war and no such war should ever be started.
Putin made the comment in a letter to participants of a conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), more than five months into his war on Ukraine.
"We proceed from the fact that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community," he said.
"We proceed from the fact that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community"Russian President Vladimir Putin
International concern about the risk of a nuclear confrontation has heightened since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. In a speech at the time, Putin pointedly referred to Russia's nuclear arsenal and warned outside powers against any attempt to interfere.
"Whoever tries to hinder us... should know that Russia's response will be immediate. And it will lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history," he said.
Days later, he ordered Russia's nuclear forces to be put on high alert.
The war in Ukraine has raised geopolitical tensions to levels not seen since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in March: "The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility."
Politicians in both Russia and the United States have spoken publicly of the risk of World War Three. CIA director William Burns said in April that given the setbacks Russia had suffered in Ukraine, "none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons."
Russia, whose military doctrine allows for the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an existential threat to the Russian state, has accused the West of waging a "proxy war" against it by arming Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Moscow.
The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility"Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
Earlier on Monday, a Russian foreign ministry source questioned the seriousness of comments by US President Joe Biden calling for talks on a nuclear arms control framework to replace a treaty expiring in 2026.
In April, Russia conducted a first test launch of its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of mounting nuclear strikes against the United States, and said it planned to deploy the weapons by autumn.
Urging the nuclear states to act "responsibly"
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday urged all nuclear states to conduct themselves "responsibly" in non-proliferation efforts at a time when he said the road to a world without nuclear arms had become much more difficult.
Kishida, the leader of the only nation to have suffered wartime nuclear attacks, warned that global divisions were deepening, particularly since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Putin at the start of the conflict obliquely raising the possibility of a nuclear strike.
"The world is worried that the threat of the catastrophe of use of nuclear weapons has emerged once again"Fumio Kishida, Japanese Prime Minister
"The world is worried that the threat of the catastrophe of use of nuclear weapons has emerged once again," he said in a speech.
"It must be said that the path to a world without nuclear weapons has suddenly become even harder."
Kishida was speaking at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations in New York City, the first Japanese leader to do so.
A native of Hiroshima, which on Aug. 6, 1945 became the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear bombing during the waning days of World War Two, Kishida has made nuclear non-proliferation something of a cause.
The second nuclear bombing, of Nagasaki, came three days later.
Kishida was foreign minister when US President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016 as the first sitting US president to do so, and has selected Hiroshima as the site for next year's Group of Seven nations summit.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he will visit Hiroshima for the Aug. 6 anniversary.
"We call for all nuclear states to conduct themselves responsibly," regarding non-proliferation efforts, Kishida said.
"From this standpoint, we support negotiations on arms control and nuclear reduction between the United States and Russia, and encourage similar talks between the United States and China."
He said other efforts should include boosting transparency regarding nuclear weapons, strengthening efforts such as the non-proliferation treaty, and announced the establishment of a $10 million fund to educate youth leaders about the dangers of nuclear weapons.
"Nagasaki must become the last bombed city," Kishida said.
He also said peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be promoted while maintaining its safety, lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Following a surge in fuel prices and a June heat wave in which Japan skirted a power shortage, Kishima has promoted nuclear power and and has said he has asked for nine reactors to be online by the end of the year, up from the current five.
The nuclear deal is best for the US, Iran the world
A return to the 2015 nuclear deal remains the best outcome for the United States, Iran and the world, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at global nonproliferation discussions at the United Nations on Monday.
Blinken also repeated a US warning that North Korea is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test.
US President Joe Biden said earlier that Washington was ready to outline a new nuclear arms deal with Russia and called on Moscow to demonstrate its ability to negotiate in good faith at the talks that began on Monday.