Russian Official Says No Plans to Alter Nuclear Test Ban

by | Oct 10, 2023

Russian Official Says No Plans to Alter Nuclear Test Ban

by | Oct 10, 2023

nuclear explostion

A top Russian diplomat explained that the Kremlin will not abandon its ban on testing nuclear weapons unless the US detonates a nuke first. President Vladimir Putin recently said that Moscow has no need to alter its current nuclear policy. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday said that Moscow’s nuclear testing policy will mirror Washington. If the U.S. conducts a nuclear test then “we will be forced to mirror that as well,” he explained. 

Russia and the US are both parties to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an agreement that prohibits nearly all detonations. Testing nuclear weapons was common during the Cold War, and Washington last conducted an underground nuke detonation in 1992. 

Members of the Russian State Douma have discussed rescinding Moscow’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Washington is not a party to that agreement that goes beyond the Partial agreement and bans underground nuclear testing. Ryabkov said that the US believes ”that we will keep turning a blind eye” to its failure to ratify the pact. 

He went on to say Moscow’s future in the agreement depends on Washinton joining. “We believe that the 23 years that we have been waiting for something to change in Washington in terms of ratification are quite a sufficient time for this step to be made.” Ryabkov continued, “Regrettably, no indications that the US is going to follow this path are visible, and so we have no choice but to balance our position.”

The Energy Department is preparing to test a nuclear weapon without a detonation. The US is spending $1.8 billion on the Scorpius project, which they hope to be able to use in 2027. Scientists call it “tickling the dragon’s tail” because it approaches the stage at which the fission of nuclear materials sustains an ongoing series of chain reactions, but remains below the threshold of a nuclear explosion. 

After a recent speech, a Russian scholar asked Putin if Russia needed to alter its nuclear doctrine. “I do not see the need to change our conceptual approaches. The potential adversary knows everything and is aware of what we are capable of,” Putin explained. Adding that Russia would only use nuclear weapons in retaliation or in response to an existential threat. 

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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