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Russia reacts to US nuclear experiment

Moscow is paying close attention to activities at a nuclear test range in Nevada, Russia’s deputy foreign minister has said

Moscow will not carry out tests of its nuclear weapons as long as Washington refrains from doing so, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Monday.

Ryabkov’s statement followed a US announcement last week that it had performed a successful subcritical nuclear experiment at the PULSE facility in Nevada. According to the National Nuclear Security Administration, the trials allowed it to collect “essential data” on atomic warheads “without the use of nuclear explosive testing.”

“We are looking closely at what is happening at the American nuclear test site. Of course, we register and monitor all public signals coming from the US administration in this area,” the deputy foreign minister said.

Russia understands that such subcritical experiments are being done “as part of testing of the performance of the relevant components and systems of the US nuclear arsenal,” the diplomat added.

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Washington has previously said that subcritical experiments are not prohibited under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which forbids nuclear test explosions in all environments. Both the US and Russia signed the 1996 accord, but stopped short of ratifying it.

Our stance remains unchanged: as long as the US does not conduct actual nuclear tests, Russia will also adhere to this position,” Ryabkov stated.

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
Russia explains renewed focus on nuclear weapons

However, the deputy foreign minister stressed that “signals” coming from Washington suggest the possible further development of American nuclear weapons “including not only delivery vehicles, but also the warheads themselves.” Moscow treats this information “seriously” and takes it into account while planning its actions.

Earlier this month, Russia announced plans to test its military’s ability to deploy tactical nuclear weapons “in the near future.” According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the exercises were ordered by President Vladimir Putin in response to the continued “power politics” pursued by the US and its allies against Moscow.

The ministry statement said the West openly declares its support for “terrorist acts” by Ukraine against Russia and “directly contributes” to such attacks. Increasingly powerful weapons are being supplied to Kiev by its foreign backers, the statement continued, singling out deliveries of US-made ATACMS missiles capable of “striking targets deep inside Russian territory.”

Moscow’s statement was preceded by a suggestion by Poland of potentially hosting US nuclear weapons, and remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron about the possibility of sending French and other NATO soldiers to Ukraine.

May 20, 2024 at 08:21PM

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