- Moscow says move aligns it with the United States
- The treaty organization describes the decision as “deeply regrettable”
- Russia says it will continue to comply with the treaty
- Western weapons experts fear Moscow is inching closer to a test
Nov 2 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Thursday withdrawing Russia’s ratification of the global treaty banning nuclear weapons testing, a step condemned by the organization that promotes accession to the historic nuclear weapons control pact. weapons.
The move, although expected, is evidence of the deep chill between the United States and Russia, whose ties are at their lowest level since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis over the war in Ukraine and what Moscow presents as Washington’s attempts to hinder the emergence of a new multipolar world order.
Washington expressed deep concern about Russia’s decision and it was a step in the wrong direction.
“Russia’s action will only serve to roll back confidence in the international arms control regime,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Moscow says its deratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is simply designed to align Russia with the United States, which signed but never ratified the treaty. Russia will not resume nuclear testing unless Washington does, Russian diplomats say.
They say the move will also not change the nuclear posture of Russia, which has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, or the way it shares information about its nuclear activities, as Moscow will remain a signatory to the treaty.
But some Western arms control experts worry that Russia may be inching toward a nuclear test to intimidate and provoke fear amid the Ukraine war.
Putin said on October 5 that he was not ready to say whether or not Russia should resume nuclear testing after calls from some Russian security experts and lawmakers to test a nuclear bomb as a warning to the West.
Such a move, if it occurred, could usher in a new era of great-power nuclear testing.
Robert Floyd, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, whose job is to promote recognition of the treaty and strengthen its verification regime to ensure that no nuclear test goes undetected, condemned Russia’s move.
“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable,” Floyd, who had tried to pressure senior Russian officials to change their minds, said on X. formerly known as Twitter.
The treaty established a global network of observation posts that can detect sound, shock waves or radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion.
Post-Soviet Russia has not conducted any nuclear tests. The Soviet Union last conducted tests in 1990 and the United States in 1992. No country except North Korea has conducted a test involving a nuclear explosion this century.
Andrey Baklitskiy, senior researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, has said Russia’s deratification of the CTBT is part of a “slippery slope” toward resuming testing.
It’s part of a worrying trend in recent years that has seen arms control pacts scrapped or suspended, he said on X last month.
“We don’t know what steps to take or when, but we know where this path ends. And we don’t want to get there,” he said.
Putin’s approval of the deratification law was posted on a government website that said the decision took effect immediately. The Russian parliament has already approved the measure.
Reuters Report Written by Andrew Osborn Edited by Guy Faulconbridge, Gareth Jones and Grant McCool
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