Russia will revoke ratification of nuclear test ban treaty, envoy says

A senior Russian diplomat has said that Moscow will revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), in a move Washington denounced as jeopardising the “global norm” against nuclear test blasts.

Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian representative to the international nuclear agencies in Vienna, was speaking after Vladimir Putin suggested Moscow might resuming testing for the first time in 33 years, signalling another downward turn in relations between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers. Ulyanov said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Russia plans to revoke ratification (which took place in the year 2000) of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

“The aim is to be on equal footing with the #US who signed the Treaty, but didn’t ratify it. Revocation doesn’t mean the intention to resume nuclear tests.”

The US signed the CTBT in 1996 but the Senate did not ratify the treaty. Successive US administrations however have observed a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons. The US State Department said it was “disturbed” by Ulyanov’s comments, adding: “A move like this by any state party needlessly endangers the global norm against nuclear explosive testing.” Robert Floyd, the executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said it would be “concerning and deeply unfortunate if any state signatory were to reconsider its ratification of the CTBT.”

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Nuclear weapons, Russia