Russian Duma unanimously votes to withdraw from atomic test ban treaty

Moscow, Oct 18 (EFE).- The Russian parliament unanimously voted Wednesday to revoke ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty before the bill to abandon the landmark agreement on atomic weapons testing goes to the Senate for final approval.

The State Duma noted that the bill was passed without any modifications, maintaining the unanimity seen in the first reading on Tuesday. The bill had the backing of 440 out of the 450 legislators in the parliament.

Following the Senate approval, the first article of the federal law that ratified the CTBT in 2000 will be revoked before it goes to Russian President Vladimir Putin for signature to wrap the process.

Russia has taken the step to discard the treatt to restore the balance of power with the United States, which has not ratified the CTBT in over two decades.

Putin said earlier this month he was “not ready to say” whether Russia needed to carry out live nuclear tests.

However, Russia’s decision to withdraw from the treaty does not imply an immediate resumption of nuclear testing. The moratorium on such tests remains in effect.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the president had made it clear. “We must prepare our test facilities for potential future testing. However, practical testing can only resume after the United States conducts similar tests.”

The CTBT, adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sep. 10, 1996, was signed by 185 countries, including Russia, which ratified it on June 30, 2000.

Notably, nine countries, including the United States, China, Iran, and Israel, never ratified it, while India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Syria did not even sign it. EFE


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