Russia is set to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a treaty that prohibits all nuclear weapons tests and explosions, which the US has never ratified.
Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, approved a bill on Wednesday to revoke the ratification. The lower house, the State Duma, approved the bill last week, and now it heads to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desk for his signature.
Russia ratified the CTBT in 2000, and Putin has said that revoking it would “mirror” US policy. The US and Russia are still participants in the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits all nuclear weapons tests except those performed underground.
Also on Wednesday, Russia conducted a simulation of a nuclear strike, but it’s unclear at this point if Russia is planning to resume live-fire nuclear tests.
Last week, the US conducted an explosion at a nuclear test site in Nevada. According to Bloomberg, the test used chemicals and radioisotopes to “validate new predictive explosion models” that can help the Energy Department detect atomic blasts in other countries.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow perceived the test as a political message since it came shortly after Russia announced its intention to revoke the CTBT ratification.
“It is definitely a political message. We must remain vigilant. As our president said, if the United States makes a move towards full-scale nuclear tests, we will have to give a reciprocal response in this field, too,” Ryabkov said.