“A [US] State Department spokesman said the Russian move “needlessly endangers the global norm against nuclear explosive testing,” and that the United States remains committed to observing a moratorium.”
By Daryl Kimball, Tony Fleming, and Kathy Crandall Robinson, ARMS CONTROL NOW | October 17, 2023 armscontrol.org
As with other critical arms control agreements, the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is under threat due to inattention, diplomatic sclerosis, and worsening relations between nuclear-armed adversaries.
Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin has given members of the Russian Duma the green light to “un-ratify” the CTBT, ostensibly to “mirror” the posture of the United States toward the treaty and somehow pressure the United States to ratify the pact. Such a move would be a “self-defeating own goal,” that would set back efforts to bring the CTBT into force and raise questions about Russia’s intentions.
A statement organized by ACA from more than 87 civil society leaders warned about the consequences of Russian “de-ratification” of the treaty and called on the treaty’s signatories to redouble efforts to achieve its entry into force and reinforce the taboo against nuclear testing.
Russia has also accused the United States of making preparations for “supercritical” nuclear testing at its former test site in Nevada and says Russia won’t test unless the United States does. A State Department spokesman said the Russian move “needlessly endangers the global norm against nuclear explosive testing,” and that the United States remains committed to observing a moratorium.