President Vladimir Putin on Thursday approved a law revoking Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a move he said aims to bring Moscow in line with the United States.
Russia says it will not resume testing unless Washington does and that its deratification will not change its nuclear posture or how it shares information about its nuclear activities.
Washington had signed but never ratified the 1996 treaty, and Putin had said he wanted Russia, which had signed and ratified the deal, to take the same position as the United States on the treaty. Besides the United States, the agreement has not yet been ratified by China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran and Egypt.
The move, while expected, speaks to the deep chill between the United States and Russia, whose ties are at their lowest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, largely due to the war. in Ukraine and what Moscow presents as Washington’s attempts to thwart the agreement. the emergence of a new multipolar world order.
Last year, Russia suspended the New START treaty on-site inspections, while the United States in 2020 withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty on reporting details of observation flights, citing alleged violations.
Robert Floyd, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, whose role is to promote recognition of the treaty and strengthen its verification regime to ensure that no nuclear test goes undetected, condemned the decision of Russia.
“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable,” said Floyd, who had tried to pressure senior Russian officials for the change your mind, about X.
The treaty established a global network of observation posts capable of detecting sound, shock waves or radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion.
“We don’t want to go there.”
Western arms control experts fear Russia is moving toward a test aimed at intimidating and instilling fear amid the war in Ukraine, an idea Russian officials have downplayed.
Andrey Baklitskiy, a senior researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, said Russia’s deratification of the CTBT was part of a “slippery slope” toward resuming testing.
“We don’t know what steps will follow or when, but we know where this road ends. And we don’t want to go there,” he said.
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.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last month that Moscow would continue to respect the ban and would only resume nuclear testing if Washington did so first.
Russia has never conducted a nuclear test since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Soviets carried out the last tests in 1990 and the United States in 1992.
Both houses of the Russian Parliament have already approved this measure.
Putin’s approval of the deratification law was published on a government website, saying the decision was effective immediately.