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Russian parliament approves bill to withdraw from nuclear test ban treaty

by Nate Ostiller October 25, 2023 2:09 PM 1 min read
A Russian nuclear missile rolls along Red Square during a military parade on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
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Both houses of the Russian parliament unanimously approved a bill to withdraw Russia from the nuclear test ban treaty on Oct. 25, passing the bill on to dictator Vladimir Putin for final approval.

Earlier in October, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said that Russia would end its compliance with the treaty in order to be "on equal footing" with the U.S.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) has been signed by 187 countries since its origin in 1996, but several, including the U.S., have not ratified it. As a result, it has never officially come into force, but in practice has introduced a taboo on testing nuclear weapons.

Russia signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in 2000

No country besides North Korea has officially conducted a nuclear test in 25 years.

Although Ulyanov and other Russian officials claim that Russia has no intention to test nuclear weapons (unless the U.S. does first), the very act of withdrawing is a demonstrable rebuke to global norms.

It is further exacerbated by the numerous nuclear threats that Russia has made since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In addition, Russia is illegally occupying Europe's largest nuclear plant in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast and has deployed tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.

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