What Is Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty?
© iStock.com / Olivier VerriestИзображение ракеты с ядерной боеголовкой
© iStock.com / Olivier Verriest
On Wednesday, the lower house of the Russian parliament adopted a bill on revoking the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the third and final reading.
In 1996 (27 years ago), the United Nations General Assembly approved the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to permanently end nuclear weapons testing. At that time, the UN reported that 44 countries across all continents possessed nuclear potential and technology.
Signatories to this treaty are prohibited from conducting nuclear tests in the atmosphere, outer space, underground and underwater, as well as inducing other countries to do so. For the CTBT to be effective, 44 countries possessing nuclear weapons or the capability to develop them must ratify it. The list of these countries was based on information from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Out of these nations, the document has been ratified by 36. Of the remaining eight countries, three did not sign the agreement: India, North Korea and Pakistan and five have signed but not ratified: the United States, China, Egypt, Israel and Iran.
Russia was one of the first to sign the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in 2000. In 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia may refuse to participate in the CTBT. He called the reason for this decision the refusal of ratification by the United States.
The withdrawal of ratification of the CTBT does not mean there is an intention to conduct nuclear tests; in his message to the Federal Assembly in February 2023, Vladimir Putin stated that there is only one condition under which Russia will return to conducting nuclear tests: if the United States does it first.
On October 18, the US conducted a nuclear test in Nevada with an underground chemical explosion. The tests took place on the same day that the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted a law revoking ratification of the CTBT. The law on the revocation of ratification of the treaty is included in the agenda of the Federation Council meeting for October 25.
The situation between Russia and the United States has leveled out de jure after that Russia launched the process to revoke the of ratification of the CTBT, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"No, our position is very, very clear. Now, in fact, the de jure situation has leveled out, now we — both the US and Russia — are signatories of the agreement, but now it has not been ratified in either country. So we are following very closely," Peskov told reporters.