Russian lawmakers are set to discuss the possibility of withdrawing Russia’s ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), according to State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin. The proposal was introduced by President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, and the discussions will take place in the upcoming session of the Duma’s agenda-setting council. Volodin emphasized that this decision would be in line with the national interests of the country.
The CTBT prohibits all nuclear explosions regardless of purpose and environment, and it expands on the limitations set in the earlier Partial Test Ban Treaty. However, unlike its predecessor, the CTBT has not entered into force as some nations, including the US, have declined to ratify it.
During his participation in the Valdai Discussion Club on Thursday, Putin addressed the ineffectiveness of the CTBT while discussing Russia’s advancement of new nuclear delivery systems. He mentioned that some advisors argue that the true viability of a new platform can only be fully demonstrated through an actual nuclear detonation. Putin stated that he is not prepared to say whether or not tests should be conducted, but he suggested that Russia could mirror the behavior of the US in relation to the CTBT. However, he also emphasized that the final decision on the treaty lies with the State Duma.
In response to Putin and Volodin’s statements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified on Friday that withdrawing Russia’s international commitment 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 previously cautioned that if the US were to breach the de facto testing moratorium, Russia would respond in kind to maintain deterrence parity.
The CTBT has been a significant milestone in nuclear disarmament efforts, aiming to create a global norm against nuclear explosions. Although the treaty has not entered into force, it has played a vital role in curbing nuclear proliferation. Russia’s discussions regarding the potential withdrawal of its ratification could have implications for the treaty’s future and global nuclear disarmament efforts.
International response to Russia’s proposal remains to be seen. The US, as one of the nations that have not ratified the CTBT, has yet to comment on the matter. However, it is important to note that the CTBT has been a topic of debate and skepticism among certain countries, with concerns raised about its verification mechanisms and potential impact on national security.
As these discussions unfold within the Russian parliament, the global community will be closely watching the outcome and its potential implications for nuclear non-proliferation. The CTBT remains an important instrument in ensuring a safer world free from the threat of nuclear weapons, and any decisions regarding its future should be carefully considered in the context of global security and stability.