18 October 2023

Lower house of Russian parliament votes to revoke nuclear test ban ratification

18 October 2023

The lower house of Russia’s parliament has given its final approval to a Bill revoking the ratification of a global nuclear test ban treaty, a move Moscow described as putting it on par with the United States.

State Duma politicians voted unanimously to revoke the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the third and final reading on Wednesday.

The Bill will now go to the upper house, the Federation Council, which will consider it next week. Federation Council politicians have already said they will support the Bill.

The legislation was introduced to parliament following a statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned earlier this month that Moscow could revoke its 2000 decision to ratify the treaty to “mirror” the stand taken by the United States, which has signed but not ratified the nuclear test ban.

The treaty, adopted in 1996, bans all nuclear explosions anywhere in the world, although it has never fully entered into force.

In addition to the US, it is yet to be ratified by China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran and Egypt.

There are widespread concerns that Russia could resume nuclear tests to try to discourage the West from offering military support to Ukraine. Many Russian hawks have spoken in favour of a resumption.

Mr Putin has said that, while some experts have talked about the need to carry out nuclear tests, he has not yet formed an opinion on the issue.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last week that Moscow will continue to respect the ban and will only resume nuclear tests if Washington does so first.

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