Putin signs bill revoking nuclear test ban treaty ratification

November 2, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a bill revoking his ratification of the global Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 23 years ago.

Putin said that rescinding the treaty’s ratification would “mirror” the United States’ stance. President Clinton signed the treaty in 1996 but Washington has not ratified the nuclear test ban, nor have China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran or Egypt.

The treaty bans all nuclear explosions anywhere in the world. However, the treaty was never fully implemented. 

Last month, Russia’s two chambers of parliament voted to endorse the bill Putin signed on Thursday, rescinding the treaty’s ratification, which occurred in the year 2000.

Putin’s action at this time comes amid widespread concern that Russia feels pressed to resume nuclear tests in an effort to discourage the West from its continuing military support for Ukraine, though Putin has not publicly expressed support for doing so.

However, just ahead of the one-year mark of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials said Russia carried out a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, though the test appears to have failed. And during his annual State of the Nation address in February of this year, Putin announced that he was suspending participation in the 2010 New START treaty following a surprise visit to Ukraine by President Biden earlier that same month. 

“As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad,” he said in another speech this past February, referring to nuclear missiles based on land, at sea and in the air.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last month that Moscow had received U.S. proposals to resume talks on strategic stability and arms controls, but that Russian officials don’t view such talks as possible “until the U.S. revises its deeply hostile policy course in relation to Russia.” 

PHOTO: Russian nuclear missile launchers at 2012 Victory Day parade rehearsal

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