United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday that the Russia-Ukraine conflict could eventually lead the world toward a "wider war."
Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, Guterres noted several of his priorities for this year, including focusing on climate change, poverty, rising nuclear threats and ongoing conflicts around the world.
"We have started 2023 staring down the barrel of a confluence of challenges unlike any other in our lifetimes," Guterres said in his speech. "We need a course correction. The good news is that we know how to turn things around - on climate, on finance, on conflict resolution, on and on. And we know that the costs of inaction far exceed the costs of action."
Guterres cited the Russia-Ukraine conflict as one of his major worries, saying that the "prospects for peace" between the two countries amid the nearly one-year conflict continue to diminish.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine is inflicting untold suffering on the Ukrainian people, with profound global implications. The prospects for peace keep diminishing. The chances of further escalation and bloodshed keep growing," Guterres added. "I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war. I fear it is doing so with its eyes wide open."
Guterres also mentioned in his speech how top scientists and experts moved the Doomsday Clock to just 90 seconds to midnight last month, the closest it has ever been to midnight.
"The Doomsday Clock is now 90 seconds to midnight, which means 90 seconds to total global catastrophe. This is the closest the clock has ever stood to humanity's darkest hour - and closer than even during the height of the Cold War," Guterres said. "In truth, the Doomsday Clock is a global alarm clock. We need to wake up - and get to work."
Guterres's remarks come as Russia's conflict against neighboring Ukraine is closing in on a full year, resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides and the displacement of some 8 million Ukrainian citizens.
The Biden administration has committed more than $29 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the conflict began last February, sending radars, rockets, munitions and other equipment to help with Ukraine's air and land defense against Russia.
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