In a move that disseminated concern across the globe, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill revoking the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It is a pact that propagates adherence to arms control.
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Vladimir Putin lifts ban on Nuclear weapons testing
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a bill revoking Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Kremlin’s decision mirrors the stand taken by the United States. The US has signed the treaty but not ratified it. The move has raised concern over Russia resuming nuclear weapons testing to warn the Western military support for Ukraine. However, Russia said the move was to establish parity with the United States.
Rescinding of the treaty has reduced the rigidity of arms control, which implies limiting the proliferation of arms. This move is evidence of the disparity between Russia and the United States over the war in Ukraine. Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has frequently drawn its nuclear arsenal, which is the biggest in the world. The CTBT, adopted in 1996, bans all sorts of nuclear weapon testing around the world. Though the treaty was never fully implemented, a spate of nations, including the US, India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Egypt, and Iran are yet to ratify the treaty.
However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that Russia will only resume nuclear tests if the US does so first. Both houses of the Russian parliament voted last month to revoke Moscow’s ratification of the pact.
The United States condemns the decision
The United States has conveyed its disapproval of Moscow revoking the ratification. American Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken, posted on the US Department of State’s official website condemning the move from Russia. He said the US is deeply concerned with Russia’s planned action to withdraw its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). He added that the step taken was in the wrong direction and took them further away from entry into force and that Russia’s action only served as a setback to the confidence in the international arms control regime.
Head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, Robert Floyd, expressed his disappointment with this law. He posted on his social media that the decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable.
There is a growing concern among a few Western arms control experts that the law might prove to be a method to invoke fear amid the Ukraine war.
The remaining nuclear treaty – START
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty came into effect in 2011 and is the last remaining arms reduction pact between the former Cold War rivals. Initially, the duration of the treaty was till 2021, and later was extended till 2026. Although President Vladimir Putin announced last February that Russia was suspending its participation, Russia has thus far aligned with the treaty limits. The agreement restricts each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads. There have been various nuclear treaties between the United States and Russia over the years. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), the two phases of the START treaty are among the pacts agreed upon and revoked between the nations.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The treaty, established to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, commenced in 1970 and was extended indefinitely. It is transparent that the progress toward disarmament has stalled.