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Envoy: Russia to withdraw from nuclear test ban treaty

by Asami Terajima October 7, 2023 10:46 AM 2 min read
Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov listens to a speech at the 67th Annual Regular Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Sept. 25, 2023 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)
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Russia plans to reverse the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Mikhail Ulyanov, the country's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said on Oct. 6.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Ulyanov claimed that Russia aims to be "on equal footing" with the U.S., which became the first country to sign the major treaty banning nuclear explosion tests in 1996 but has yet to ratify it.

The CTBT bans “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion."

Ulyanov's tweet comes as Russia continues to issue nuclear threats to Ukraine and the West, illegally occupying Europe's largest nuclear plant in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast and deploying tactical nukes to Belarus.

In the same tweet, Ulyanov claimed that Russia doesn't intend to restart nuclear tests.

The U.S. slammed Moscow for the intention to withdraw from the "global norm" to prevent nuclear explosive accidents.

"We are disturbed by the comments of Ambassador Ulyanov in Vienna today," an. unnamed U.S. State Department spokesperson said in a statement cited by Reuters. "A move like this by any State Party needlessly endangers the global norm against nuclear explosive testing."

Russia signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in 2000. The treaty has now been signed by 187 countries but ratified by 178.

CTBT Executive Director Robert Floyd said in an Oct. 6 statement that "it would be concerning and deeply unfortunate if any State Signatory were to reconsider its ratification of the CTBT," but the organization hoped for a "continued close cooperation" with Russia and other states.

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