Moscow says abandoning the 1996 treaty is aimed at bringing Russia into line with the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has revoked his country’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a move he says aims to align Moscow with the United States.
The signing of the new law to abandon the historic agreement banning nuclear weapons tests took place on Thursday, a week after the Federation Council of Russia’s upper house unanimously approved it.
The Duma, lower house, had already adopted the bill in an accelerated vote. With Putin’s signature, the legislation took effect on Thursday.
The 1996 treaty bans all nuclear explosions, including actual testing of nuclear weapons, although it has never been effective because some key countries have not ratified it.
Moscow announced on October 6 its intention to withdraw from the treaty to “reflect” the position of the United States, which has signed but not ratified the treaty.
It is unclear, however, whether this revocation will result in Russia resuming nuclear weapons testing.
Putin said October 5: “I hear calls to start testing nuclear weapons. I’m not ready to say whether we actually need to do testing or not.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier this month that Moscow would continue to respect the ban and would only resume nuclear testing if the United States did so.
“As our president has said, we need to be on alert, and if the United States moves toward beginning nuclear testing, we will need to respond here in the same way,” the official said.
Just hours after the Upper House vote, the Russian army carried out a “Massive” retaliatory nuclear strike exercise.
The exercise, which involved launching missile tests from a land-based silo, a nuclear submarine and a long-range bomber, was supervised by Putin.
The United States said earlier this month that it “disturbed” by Russia’s decision to revoke ratification of the CTBT.
“A step like this, taken by any state party, needlessly endangers the global norm against nuclear explosive testing,” the US State Department said.
Russia should not “use arms control and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric in an unsuccessful attempt to coerce other states,” the State Department added, appearing to suggest the move was intended to pressure the United States. and other countries that support Ukraine in its fight against Ukraine. Russian forces.
Since his invasion of the neighboring country, Putin has repeatedly invoked Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
With the abandonment of the CTBT, the last bilateral nuclear weapons treaty between Washington and Moscow is New START, under which both countries regularly inspected each other’s nuclear facilities and limited their warheads.
Russia suspended the treaty in February. Its expiration is scheduled for early 2026.
Ryabkov said last week that the Kremlin had received informal proposals from the United States to resume negotiations on issues of strategic stability and arms control “regardless of anything that happens.”
However, he said Moscow believes it is “simply impossible” to return to such dialogue without a change in the United States’ “deeply hostile orientation toward Russia.”