Russia is revoking ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a Kremlin lawmaker said on Tuesday, blaming the US’s “irresponsible attitude to global security issues.”

Ahead of a debate and parliamentary vote on the issue, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, said: “The Russian Federation will do everything to protect its citizens and to maintain global strategic parity.

“In the interests of ensuring the security of our country, we are withdrawing the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CNTBT).”

Even if Russia revokes ratification, it will at present remain a signatory and continue cooperation with the CNTBT organisation.

But the move is a step towards the possible resumption of nuclear testing and could indicate the start of a new nuclear arms race.

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President Putin earlier this month discussed the issue at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi.

At the event Putin was asked by the hardliner, Sergei Karaganov, if the Kremlin should lower the nuclear threshold to sober up Russia’s “insolent” adversaries.

Putin’s response was that the US had signed but not ratified the treaty while Russia had, but he said: “I am not ready to say whether we really need to conduct tests or not, but it is possible theoretically to behave in the same way as the United States.”

He added: “But this is a question for the deputies of the state Duma. Theoretically, it is possible to withdraw this ratification. That would be enough.”

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Some experts feel that two of Moscow’s top men bringing up the subject is an indication that Russia is almost certain to revoke ratification of the treaty that banned all nuclear explosions which has held firm for almost thirty years.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies published an assessment on the Arms Control Wonk website on Sept. 23 that showed increased activity at Russian, Chinese (and US) former nuclear test sites which supported the assumption that they were preparing to resume testing.

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Russia has the world’s largest nuclear warhead stockpile and has carried out over 700 nuclear tests between 1945 and its last in 1990, while the US has done over 1,000 – the last being in 1992.

The threat to resume testing came at the same time that Russia claims to have successfully tested the nuclear reactor-powered Burevestnik (Storm Petrel) cruise missile.

The Burevestnik was one of the “invincible weapons” Putin first revealed in March 2018.

Others suggest that this rhetoric is merely the latest example of the escalation of the nuclear saber-rattling that various Russian spokespersons and propagandists have indulged in as Moscow’s war in Ukraine has turned increasingly sour.

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