"Humanity is taking part in with a loaded gun" as crises with the potential for nuclear catastrophe proliferate worldwide, UN head Antonio Guterres mentioned in Hiroshima on Saturday, the 77th anniversary of the primary atomic bomb assault.

At an annual memorial, Guterres warned of the danger posed by crises in Ukraine, the Center East and the Korean peninsula as he described the horrors endured by the Japanese metropolis.

"Tens of hundreds of individuals have been killed on this metropolis within the blink of an eye fixed. Girls, youngsters and males have been incinerated in a hellish hearth," he mentioned.

Survivors have been "cursed with a radioactive legacy" of most cancers and different well being issues.

"We should ask: What have we discovered from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this metropolis?"

Round 140,000 individuals died when Hiroshima was bombed by the US on August 6, 1945, a toll that features those that perished after the blast from radiation publicity.

In the present day, "crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading quick," Guterres mentioned, repeating warnings he made this week at a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty convention in New York.

"Humanity is taking part in with a loaded gun."

Earlier than daybreak, survivors and their family started to assemble at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park to pay tribute to the victims.

A silent prayer was held at 8.15 am, the second the bomb was dropped.

The Russian ambassador was not invited to the ceremony however visited Hiroshima on Thursday to put flowers on the memorial web site.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled threats hinting at a willingness to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.

In a speech on Saturday, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui cited Leo Tolstoy, the Russian creator of "Warfare and Peace", saying: "By no means construct your happiness on the misfortune of others, for under of their happiness can you discover your personal."

Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, Washington dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese port metropolis of Nagasaki, killing about 74,000 individuals and resulting in the tip of World Warfare II.

There at the moment are fewer than 119,000 formally acknowledged survivors of the 2 nuclear assaults, in accordance with authorities statistics from March.

The US stays the one nation ever to have used nuclear weapons in battle.

However round 13,000 at the moment are held in state arsenals worldwide, Guterres mentioned.

Saturday was the primary time Guterres attended the Hiroshima memorial in individual as UN chief, with a go to final 12 months cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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