Russia revokes nuclear test ban treaty

Russia’s parliament passed a bill that will revoke Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on Wednesday under pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.

The bill was passed by the lower house, the State Duma, unanimously by 415 to 0 votes and comes at a time of growing tensions with the West and the United States due to its support for Ukraine. The bill will soon go to the upper house for Putin to sign.

Putin aims to “mirror” the United States which signed but has never ratified the treaty that was established in 1996.

The Russian President visited Beijing on Tuesday with the Kremlin subsequently releasing video footage of him being accompanied by officers carrying the “nuclear briefcase” in an apparent attempt to remind the West of Russia’s nuclear capabilities. The briefcase has been reported to be able to order a nuclear strike at any time.

Parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said of the bill: “We understand our responsibility to our citizens, we are protecting our country. What is happening in the world today is the exclusive fault of the United States.”

"And what we will do next - whether we remain a party to the treaty or not, we will not tell them. We must think about global security, the safety of our citizens and act in their interests," he continued.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute experts said the new law may be intended "to generate alarm and uncertainty among states supporting Ukraine in its defense against Russia's illegal invasion."

They also said it "weakens international stability and diminishes humanity’s prospects of avoiding a new nuclear arms race."

"In this instance, it is difficult for the United States to go far in criticizing Putin’s announcement and Russia’s potential withdrawal from the CTBT,” they added, “since the USA has itself failed to ratify the treaty and become a party to it in the 27 years since first signing."

Melissa Parke, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, called Russia's action irresponsible.

She said treaties like the CTBT "are critical to making sure nuclear testing which has harmed people’s health and caused widespread radioactive contamination is not resumed."

In early October, Putin said he was aware of calls for Russia to resume nuclear testing and has “everything ready” to conduct one, but Russia remains firm that they will not do so unless the United States does. They have, however, recently built new facilities at their nuclear test sites as shown by satellite images published by CNN last month.

Image: Title: putin nuclear test


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