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Ukraine: Do not play with nuclear Armageddon, warns UN Assembly President

Since the outbreak of the conflict, tens of thousands have lost their lives, many more have been wounded, and millions displaced within Ukraine and outside its borders.

“We must remember that behind every number lies a mother, a father, a child, a grandparent. To turn a blind eye would be an affront to the memory of those who have already perished,” Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly, told the meeting of Member States.

He added that while the Security Council has failed to adopt a resolution related to the conflict, the General Assembly, “resolute and active, has not let the international community become numb to this war.”

Nuclear rhetoric must be stopped

At the meeting, held under Agenda Item 59, on the situation in the temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Mr. Kőrösi underlined that the nuclear rhetoric must stop.

Amidst the crisis, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe continues to loom large, with Europe’s largest nuclear power plant located in an active conflict zone, posing grave, imminent danger far beyond the region, he said.  

“I must repeat what I have said before: nuclear arms will not solve a conflict. We cannot play with a nuclear Armageddon,” the Assembly President stressed.

He appealed to Russia and Russian leaders’ sense of responsibility: “you have the power to end it. And, as one of the most influential decision-makers in the world, you can do it – if you want to.”

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War and development

President Kőrösi also highlighted that the fighting is deeply connected to the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs), threatening the “very prospect” of a sustainable future.

“How can we expect to effectively address food and energy insecurity, climate change, water security, and biodiversity loss when conflicts have ripple effects across the globe?”

Simply put, he continued, the war is fundamentally unreconcilable with the pursuit of the 17 Goals, “the ones we hope to secure humanity’s survival.”

Vulnerable pay the price

Mr. Kőrösi also underlined the importance of the Black Sea Initiative, which ensured food for hundreds of millions worldwide, and which expired just a day ago, after Russia withdrew from the instrument.

“I implore all parties to come together in dialogue and diplomacy to restart negotiations, for it is always the most vulnerable who suffer the consequences. Let them not pay the price of political games”, he urged.

Attack on Ukrainian port condemned

Meanwhile, just hours after the termination of the Initiative, the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, one of the country’s main ports for exporting grain, came under attack. The port’s infrastructure was reportedly damaged.

Denise Brown, Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, condemned the assault and said that civilian infrastructure, which is key for food security globally, appears to have been targeted.

Civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected under international humanitarian law, she stressed.

Earlier on Monday, a key bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimea region, was also apparently targeted, reportedly killing a couple and injuring a child with them who were travelling on the Russian-built structure that’s a key supply route for the Russian war effort.

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