Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a bill revoking the Russian Federation’s ratification of a global treaty banning nuclear tests.
The Russian legislature approved the measure in late October, sending the bill to Putin’s desk. Russia in 2000 ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Putin’s signature would pave the way for Moscow to resume nuclear detonations and weapons tests.
Russian officials have characterized the move as leveling the playing field between Moscow and Washington, noting that the U.S. and several other nuclear-armed nations had never signed on to the treaty, state media outlet Tass reported. The revocation took effect immediately.
A Kremlin spokesman insisted that Russia has no plans to resume nuclear tests, however, echoing statements from Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov last month.
Fears of nuclear escalations have persisted throughout the ongoing Ukraine war, with Russian officials suggesting the country may use nuclear weapons if necessary. Moreover, international observers and Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly warned of potential meltdowns or related disasters at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
After the legislature approved the measure, Putin spent the day personally overseeing a comprehensive military simulation to prepare for coordinated nuclear strikes.