Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law withdrawing Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which aims to ban all nuclear explosions. However, this treaty, established in 1996, never came into force, as major nuclear powers like the United States and China never ratified it.
Accusations of Reckless Nuclear Rhetoric
The West has accused Russia of using provocative nuclear rhetoric, especially since the beginning of its offensive in Ukraine last February. Putin recently oversaw ballistic missile drills, described as preparation for a “massive” retaliatory nuclear strike against an unspecified adversary.
Uncertainty Over Live Nuclear Tests
In the midst of this, Putin stated last month that he was uncertain whether Russia would conduct live nuclear tests.
Fast-Track Bill Passage: Putin
The bill to withdraw from the treaty passed through Russia’s parliament in a swift process. State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin justified the move as a response to the United States’ “cynicism” and “boorish attitudes” regarding nuclear weapons.
While the treaty never became effective, it received ratification from 178 countries, including nuclear-armed nations like France and Britain. It held symbolic significance as a global norm against live nuclear weapons tests. However, its effectiveness remained limited due to the absence of ratification by key nuclear powers.
Russia’s Initial Ratification
Russia initially ratified the treaty in June 2000, during Putin’s early presidency.