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Russian Parliament Leaders to Hold Talks on Cancelling Ratification of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Russian Parliament to Discuss Revoking Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Parliamentary Deliberations

Russian parliamentary bosses will convene on Monday to discuss the possibility of revoking the ratification of a treaty that bans nuclear tests. This comes after President Vladimir Putin hinted at the potential resumption of nuclear testing, marking the first time in over thirty years. The resumption of nuclear tests by Russia, the United States, or China could potentially ignite a new nuclear arms race among these major powers. It is worth noting that nuclear testing ceased after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Putin’s Stance

While President Putin stated that Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which outlines the conditions for pressing the nuclear button, does not require updating, he has not yet determined whether Russia needs to resume nuclear tests. He also highlighted that Russia might consider revoking its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), as the United States has signed but not ratified it.

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Parliamentary Action

In response to Putin’s remarks, Vyacheslav Volodin, Russia’s top lawmaker, announced his intention to discuss the matter at the next meeting of Russia’s Duma Council. The Duma Council plays a crucial role in organizing legislative work within the Russian parliament. The meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Monday.

Implications and Reactions

Russia’s envoy to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) announced on Friday that Moscow intends to revoke its ratification of the treaty. This move has drawn criticism from the United States, which views it as endangering the global norm against nuclear test blasts.

Should Russia proceed with this revocation, it would send a clear warning to the United States that the assumptions of post-Cold War nuclear planning can be fundamentally altered. Currently, the CTBT requires the signature and ratification of eight specific holdout countries to enter into force. As of now, 187 countries have signed the treaty, with 178 of them having ratified it. Notably, the United States, China, Egypt, Iran, and Israel have signed but not ratified the CTBT, while India, North Korea, and Pakistan have not signed it.

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International Concern

The prospect of resuming nuclear testing raises concerns among scientists and campaigners who believe that the abundance of nuclear bomb testing during the Cold War demonstrated the dangers of nuclear brinkmanship. Such actions could potentially lead to the destruction of humanity and contaminate the planet for hundreds of thousands of years.

Global Tensions

The ongoing tensions between Moscow and Washington, exacerbated by the Ukraine war, have reached their highest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Concurrently, China aims to enhance its nuclear arsenal in line with its emerging superpower status. These circumstances contribute to the urgency and significance of the discussions surrounding the revocation of the nuclear test ban treaty.

Recent Developments

Recent reports have revealed increased activity at nuclear test sites in Russia, China, and the United States. Satellite images indicate this surge in activity. Additionally, in 2020, it was reported that the previous Trump administration had discussed the possibility of conducting a nuclear test.

Since the CTBT’s inception, ten nuclear tests have taken place. India and Pakistan conducted two tests each in 1998, while North Korea held tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 (twice), and 2017, according to the United Nations.

It remains to be seen how the discussions within the Russian parliament will unfold and what implications they will have on global nuclear disarmament efforts.

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