/Humanity close to ‘nuclear annihilation,' United Nations warns | USA TODAY

Humanity close to ‘nuclear annihilation,' United Nations warns | USA TODAY

UN officials warned of “nuclear annihilation” during a meeting on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and achieving a nuclear-free world.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine is one of the key developments raising the threat of a nuclear confrontation to its highest level since the height of the Cold War, the United Nations chief said Monday at the beginning of a conference that aims to lower the risk of such a catastrophe.

Citing the Russian invasion along with nuclear threats in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”

Speaking at a meeting to review the landmark Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — a gathering originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed because of the pandemic — Guterres also warned that the chances of nuclear proliferation are increasing while the mechanisms to avoid escalation are weakening.

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