Kremlin Dismisses Claims Russia Is Preparing a Nuclear Weapons Test

Putin previously said Moscow would only detonate a nuclear weapon if another country did first

A Kremlin spokesperson has rebuked a claim by an American diplomat that Moscow was preparing to test a nuclear weapon. Russia maintains it is committed to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty so long as other parties adhere to it.

On Friday, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, responded to questions about a potential nuclear weapons test. “At the moment, everyone is observing the moratorium. There is nothing more to say,” he said.

Peskov made the statement in response to a claim made by US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy. The diplomat asserted that Moscow was the only government considering breaking the test ban treaty.

Peskov’s remarks are in line with what Putin said earlier this year, Russia will only carry out a strategic test in response to the US detonating a nuclear weapon. "If the United States conducts tests, then we will," the Russian leader stated in February. "No one should have dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be destroyed.”

Both Washington and Moscow have traded accusations that the other is preparing a nuclear weapons test without providing evidence. For well over a year, American officials have also repeated claims that North Korea will conduct its seventh nuclear weapons test.

The finger-pointing comes as the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists warns the risks of a catastrophic nuclear war are at the highest point ever. Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has destroyed several arms control agreements with Moscow, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the Open Skies Agreement.

Earlier this year, Moscow suspended its involvement in the New Start Treaty, the last bilateral agreement between the US and Russia limiting nuclear weapons. The Kremlin expressed that part of the reason the agreement was suspended was due to Washington assisting Kiev in striking a Russian strategic military facility.

While Moscow has officially suspended its participation in New Start, it continues to adhere to most of the limits set in the agreement. In March, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said, "On a voluntary basis, the Russian Federation will adhere to the central quantitative limits on strategic nuclear weapons set by the treaty and will also continue to abide by the 1988 agreement on mutual notifications on missile launches."

Vladimir Yermakov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department, voiced earlier this week that talks between Moscow and Washington on nuclear arms control should not be expected any time soon. "In the given circumstances, no major negotiations can be conducted with the United States or the West in general," he stated on Tuesday.

Yermakov explained that part of Russia’s current concerns are America’s buildup of strategic assets in the Asia-Pacific. While Washington sees its military escalation in the region as a counter to Pyongyang and Beijing, Moscow’s territory also stretches into the region.

On Wednesday, US officials announced an American submarine carrying nuclear weapons will visit the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, Yermakov expressed concerns about potential American missile installations in Japan.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.