Nuclear weapons ban treaty meeting held amid growing threats

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted throughout the military operation in Ukraine that his forces could use nuclear weapons. Delegates from nations that have signed the UN treaty, which bans the use of such weapons, are warning about the dangers.

On the opening day of the three-day meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Tuesday, the chair of the event, Alexander Kmentt of Austria, expressed his concerns about the accelerating debates on nuclear deterrence and the rising threat of the use of nuclear weapons.

One of the States Parties, The New Zealand delegate, blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for issuing a nuclear mobilization order.

New Zealand Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford said, "His threats to use nuclear weapons and Russia's illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine have brought us once more to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe."

Russia, the US, China and other nuclear-armed states have not joined the UN treaty. Japan and some of the other nations that are under "nuclear umbrellas" have also declined to join. But the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are attending the meeting. Both mayors stressed that nuclear weapons need to be prohibited.

Hiroshima Mayor Matsui Kazumi said, "It is imperative to have the nuclear armed states deepen their understanding of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and the uncertainty of nuclear arsenal management by winning additional states parties to this treaty."

Nagasaki Mayor Taue Tomihisa said, "At this time, the risk of another Hiroshima and Nagasaki is mounting. We must come together under the Hibakusha's motto of 'Make Nagasaki the last atomic bombing site.'"

Thirty-three non-members have expressed their intention to attend the meeting as observers; and some countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, will deliver speeches on the second day.