Putin signed legislation on Thursday withdrawing Russia’s ratification of the worldwide treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons tests, a move denounced by the organization that promotes adherence to the historic arms control deal.
The action, though predicted, demonstrates the deep frost between the US and Russia, whose ties are at their lowest point since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis due to the war in Ukraine and what Moscow sees as Washington’s efforts to block the creation of a new multipolar world order.
Moscow claims that its withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Deal (CTBT) is only to align Russia with the United States, which signed but never ratified the deal. According to Russian diplomats, Russia will not resume nuclear testing unless Washington does.
They claim that the decision will have no effect on Russia’s nuclear posture or the way it communicates information about its nuclear programs because Moscow would remain a treaty signatory.
However, some Western arms control specialists are afraid that Russia is edging closer to a nuclear test in order to scare and frighten the West during the Ukraine conflict.
On October 5, Putin stated that he was not ready to say whether Russia should resume nuclear testing in response to proposals from certain Russian security experts and MPs to test a nuclear weapon as a warning to the West.
If such a step occurs, it might bring in a new era of nuclear testing by major powers.
The move was opposed by Robert Floyd, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, whose mission it is to promote treaty recognition and strengthen the pact’s monitoring regime to ensure no nuclear testing go undetected.
“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable,” Floyd stated on X, formerly known as Twitter. Floyd had tried to influence senior Russian officials to change their minds.
The treaty established a global network of monitoring sites capable of detecting nuclear explosion noises, shockwaves, or radioactive fallout.
According to Andrey Baklitskiy, senior researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Russia’s withdrawal from the CTBT is part of a “slippery slope” toward resuming testing.
It is part of a troubling trend in recent years in which arms control treaties have been canceled or suspended, as he remarked last month on X.
“We don’t know when or what steps will be taken next, but we know where this road leads.” “We don’t want to go there,” he explained.
Putin’s acceptance of the de-ratification law was announced on a government website, with the decision taking effect immediately. The action has already been approved by Russia’s parliament.