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Russian parliament to debate revoking nuclear test ban – top MP

Moscow aims for parity with the US, which has yet to ratify an agreement prohibiting all atomic detonations

Russian MPs will soon engage in discussions regarding the potential withdrawal of Russia’s ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a proposal that was introduced by President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, according to State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin.

The senior legislator pledged that this deliberation within the lower chamber of the Russian parliament would take place in the upcoming session of its agenda-setting council. He emphasized that this decision would align with the national interests of the country.

The CTBT prohibits all nuclear explosions regardless of purpose and environment, expanding the limitations set in the earlier Partial Test Ban Treaty. Unlike its 1963 predecessor, the current agreement never entered into force, since some nations, including the US, declined to ratify it.


Putin brought up the ineffective ban during his participation in the Valdai Discussion Club on Thursday, while discussing Russia’s advancement of new nuclear delivery systems. He mentioned that some advisors were arguing that the true viability of a new platform could only be fully demonstrated through an actual nuclear payload detonation.

“I am not prepared to say whether or not we should conduct tests. But behaving in a mirror fashion in relations with the US … that we can do,” he said, referring to the status of the CTBT. However, Putin stressed that the final decision over the treaty lies with the State Duma.

READ MORE: Sanctions, estimated Ukrainian losses and Russia’s nuclear arsenal: Key takeaways from Putin’s Valdai speech

Responding to Putin and Volodin’s statements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized on Friday that should lawmakers decide to withdraw Russia’s international commitment, it does not automatically imply the resumption of nuclear testing.


The US last conducted a live nuclear test in 1992, while Russia, then the Soviet Union, did so in 1990. Putin has cautioned on multiple occasions that if Washington were to breach the de facto testing moratorium, Moscow would respond in kind to maintain parity in deterrence.

October 06, 2023 at 07:50PM

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