Russian lawmakers to consider revoking nuclear test ban ratification

The Russian Parliament will consider revoking the ratification of a ban on nuclear tests, the leader of its lower house announced Friday.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin cited Western allies’ support for Ukraine against Russian invasion as one reason to consider going back on the ban.

“Washington and Brussels have unleashed a war against our country,” Volodin said, according to The Associated Press. “Today’s challenges require new decisions.”

He said senior lawmakers will discuss recalling the 2000 ratification of the nuclear test ban at the next meeting of the house council.

“It conforms with our national interests,” Volodin said. “And it will come as a quid pro quo response to the United States, which has still failed to ratify the treaty.”

Revoking the ban was first floated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, when he announced the country had recently done testing on a new nuclear missile platform with a range of up to 14,000 miles.

U.S. officials signed, but Congress did not ratify, the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban. Russia did ratify and sign the treaty, however. Putin warned Thursday that Russia could do the same. 

“Theoretically, we may revoke the ratification.” the Russian leader said. “It’s up to the State Duma members.”

But that doesn’t mean Russia would immediately start nuclear testing again.

“I’m not ready to say yet whether it’s necessary for us to conduct tests or not,” Putin added.

Russian officials have repeatedly threatened escalation of conflict with the U.S. and Western allies over their support for Ukraine. 

“Imagine if the offensive, which is backed by NATO, was a success and they tore off a part of our land, then we would be forced to use a nuclear weapon according to the rules of a decree from the president of Russia,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in July.

“There would simply be no other option. So our enemies should pray for our [warriors’ success]. They are making sure that a global nuclear fire is not ignited,” he added.

Tags Dmitry Medvedev nuclear test treaty nuclear weapons russia Russia-Ukraine war Vladimir Putin Vyacheslav Volodin