Duma Approves Rejection of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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In the first reading Russian MPs have supported a draft law on the refusal to ratify the CTBT. Vladimir Putin had earlier proposed to abandon this agreement. The Russian State Duma on Tuesday, 17 October, unanimously passed in the first reading a bill to withdraw ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, commenting in Telegram on the decision to withdraw ratification of the CTBT, pointed out that the treaty had not been ratified by the United States after 23 years and accused Washington of “double standards.” According to Volodin, the decision to withdraw is in Russia’s interests and for the sake of preserving “global strategic parity.” Earlier, Vyacheslav Volodin, commenting on Russia’s initial process of withdrawal from the CTBT, referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that Russia had conducted the “last successful test” of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered intercontinental cruise missile. “The situation in the world has changed. Washington and Brussels have launched a war against our country. Today’s challenges require new solutions,” the Duma speaker claimed. Putin on 5 October suggested abandoning the CTBT, citing Washington’s failure to ratify it. Russia has never conducted a nuclear test. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996. Russia ratified the document; the US and China did not. The USSR conducted its last nuclear weapons test in 1990, Russia has never conducted one. The US did so in 1992. Since then, the world has conducted 10 tests, with India and Pakistan conducting two each in 1998 and all the others done by North Korea. The world community has repeatedly pointed to increasing nuclear threats on the part of Russian leadership and state propaganda. One of the most resonant statements in recent weeks was made by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the propaganda television channel RT. She mentioned the possibility of conducting “somewhere over Siberia: a thermonuclear explosion that would cause “nothing terrible on land,” but would only “disable all radio electronics, all satellites.” “And we will return to 1993 - wired telephones, “two-penny” pay phone. I'll tell you: we had a wonderful life. Seriously, I’ll even be happy,” Simonyan claimed.