Source The Hill

WASHINGTON, U.S.--The U.S. and Russia stressed that there are no winners in nuclear war amid increasing tensions, in a joint statement released on Monday with China, France and the United Kingdom.

The nations said they consider the “avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.”

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the statement said. "As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

“We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented,” it continued.

The statement from the so-called “P5 countries” — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — comes amid mounting tensions between Russia and Western nations over Moscow’s buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border.

American and Russian officials are slated to meet on Jan. 10 to discuss each other’s security concerns, after which will be a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council and meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Permanent Council.

Ahead of the talks, President Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning of “severe sanctions” if Putin moves into Ukraine.

The statement also comes as China increases its nuclear weapons capability. A report from the Department of Defense released in November predicted that Beijing intends to have 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, which greatly outpaced the Pentagon’s past estimates.

The five countries also said they remained committed to their obligations under the U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and further nuclear disarmament.

“We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all,” the statement said.

“We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns,” the countries added.