The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) issued a joint statement on Friday urging a total ban of nuclear weapons.
The statement denounced nuclear-armed states abandoning their “longstanding nuclear disarmament obligations,” and “upgrading their arsenals, developing new kinds of nuclear weapons and making them easier to use,” in an apparent reference to the US.
“Seventy-four years after nuclear weapons obliterated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the risk that nuclear weapons will again be used is growing,” the organizations warned.
ICRC President Peter Maurer highlighted the importance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in the statement, stressing that the treaty “represents a beacon of hope and an essential measure to reduce the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.”
“At this moment of growing international tension, I call on everyone to act with urgency and determination to bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end,” he said.
The statement comes after Washingtonsuspended its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on February 2, claiming that Moscow had been violating the key pact.
Russia has denied violating the agreement and has accused the US of breaking the deal, urging Washington to destroy weapons Moscow deems banned under the pact.
The INF Treaty requires the US and Russia to eliminate all their nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 1,000–5,500 km. It also bans either side from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.
The accord was signed toward the end of Cold War, in 1987, between former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The unilateral US withdrawal has alarmed the world, with rising concerns that the US can now freely pursue the proliferation of nuclear weapons.