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Old 11-02-2023, 11:36 AM
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Arrow Putin signs bill revoking Russian ratification of nuclear test ban treaty

Putin signs bill revoking Russian ratification of nuclear test ban treaty
By: Thomson Reuters Posted: Nov 02, 2023 6:34 AM CDT | Last Updated: 2 hours ago

Most nuclear countries never ratified the treaty, but some Russian lawmakers have pushed for new tests.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed off on a law revoking Russia's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a move he said is designed to bring Moscow into line with the United States.

Russia says that it will not resume testing unless Washington does and that its de-ratification does not change its nuclear posture or the way it shares information about its nuclear activities.

Washington had signed but never ratified the 1996 treaty and Putin had said he wanted Russia, which had signed and ratified the pact, to adopt the same stance on the treaty as the United States. In addition to the U.S., it has yet to be ratified by China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran and Egypt.

The move, though expected, is evidence of the deep chill between the United States and Russia, whose ties are at their lowest level since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, largely due to the war in Ukraine and what Moscow casts as Washington's attempts to stymie the emergence of a new multipolar world order.

Last year, Russia suspended the New START treaty on site inspections, while the U.S. in 2020 pulled out of the Open Skies treaty on communicating details of observation flights, citing alleged violations.

Robert Floyd, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, whose job is to promote recognition of the treaty and build up its verification regime to ensure no nuclear tests go undetected, condemned Russia's step.

"Today's decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable," said Floyd, who had tried to lobby senior Russian officials to get them to change their mind, on X.

The treaty established a global network of observation posts that can detect the sound, shock waves or radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion.
Personal note: Putin is a real snake in the grass! He and Kim both aren't playing with
a full deck. [more below};
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was introduced in 1996, but some countries still haven't ratified

Russian lawmakers unanimously voted Tuesday to revoke Russia's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans any nuclear testing.

While the motion requires two additional readings, Russia's lower parliament, the Duma, swiftly voted in favour of withdrawing Russia's ratification. The speaker of house, Vyacheslav Volodin, said lawmakers were taking this step in order to maintain "global strategic parity."

While Russia ratified the nuclear treaty in 2000, the United States and a number of other countries have signed on, but have never ratified it.

What is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty?

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the United Nations general assembly in 1996 in an effort to ban all nuclear explosions, including those underwater and underground. Its goal is to curb the development of nuclear weapons and also to eliminate the health and environmental risks that are caused by nuclear testing.

Between 1945 and 1996 (which is when the treaty was tabled), there were more than 2,000 nuclear tests, most of which were conducted by the United States and the Soviet Union, according to the UN.

Where the vast majority of countries have signed and ratified the CTBT, it is not in force because eight nations haven't ratified it, including China, the United States, North Korea, Israel, and Pakistan, which all have a nuclear weapons program.

Since 1996, there have been 10 nuclear tests, according to the UN. Pakistan and India each conducted two tests, while North Korea has conducted six tests since 2006. Its most recent was in 2017.

A verification system was developed alongside the treaty which led to the creation of an international monitoring program. There are 337 sites around the world which constantly monitor for signs of nuclear explosions.

[It seems he and Kim both want to make trouble - for the world order!}

Another link:

Why does Russia want to revoke its ratification and how significant is it?
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia should withdraw its ratification to "mirror" the position of the United States, but that he wasn't not ready "to say whether we should conduct nuclear tests or not."

Russia has nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads the largest stockpile in the world.

Some experts see Russia's move as mostly symbolic as it doesn't appear to have immediate plans to resume nuclear testing.

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Nikolai Sotov, a Russian nuclear expert and senior fellow at the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, says he believes the country is trying to make a political statement at a time of increasing hostilities with the West.

"This really illustrates (Russia's) tough approach," he said in an interview with CBC News. "Moscow used to be afraid of not having constructive negotiations, and now they are not afraid."

Russia has said it would remain a signatory to the CTBT, and continue to supply data to the global monitoring system.

Lynn Rusten, vice-president of the Global Nuclear Policy Program at the Washington, D.C.-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, says even if it is a political manoeuvre, it can still be viewed as an implicit threat by Russia.

"You can also view it as another manifestation of Russia's kind of nuclear coercion in this Ukraine crisis," she told CBC News.

She says if Russia were to resume testing, it would put pressure on other countries to start testing nuclear weapons.

Why has the U.S. not ratified it?
The U.S. signed the treaty in 1996, but the Senate voted against ratifying it in 1999.

At the time, U.S. officials expressed concern that the country might not be able to evaluate the reliability of its stockpile of weapons without the ability to occasionally do nuclear tests. Another concern was whether there was a strong enough system in place to ensure countries adhered to the treaty.

Rusten says those concerns have now mostly vanished because of the monitoring systems now in place, but she says there hasn't been a strong desire to ratify it in the U.S.

There's no flashy Oppenheimer cameo, but this scientist helped start the disarmament movement in Canada
ANALYSISPutin and Kim put on a show as worries mount over what Russia might promise North Korea
"There's kind of an ideological antipathy toward arms control in some quarters," she said.

Even though the U.S. hasn't ratified it, she says it has been committed to the moratorium on any nuclear testing.

What is the status of global nuclear disarmament?
Throughout Russia's war on Ukraine, Putin and other Russian officials have made nuclear threats.

Earlier this year, Russia announced it was suspending the New Start Treaty with the U.S., which is the last remaining arms treaty between the two countries. It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads on both sides.

Of the 12,500 nuclear warheads in existence, nearly 90 per cent belong to the United States and to Russia, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

In March, Russia announced it was deploying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.

Putin said he saw no need to change the doctrine, which states that Russia may use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an attack with "weapons of mass destruction." It also states that Russia can deploy nuclear weapons if its existence is threatened by conventional weapons.

Sotov, who took part in arms control negotiations in Russia between 1987 and 1992, said he doesn't think Russia will resort to using nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine, but believes Russia could target a NATO country.

"If the war really goes bad for Russia, it will try to escalate conventional conflict with NATO," he said. "But when you are locked in escalation, it spirals, and you may unintentionally actually go nuclear."

Foreign correspondent
Personal note: NATO will have to be on the ball with these two criminals running
amuck together! I don't trust them both - at all!

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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