President Vladimir Putin had brought up the possibility of Russia resuming nuclear tests as a message to the US, Russian diplomat Dmitry Glukhov told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“I wish to underscore that the aforementioned statement by the Russian president about the hypothetical possibility of our country resuming nuclear tests, mentioned during his speech to the federal legislature, needs to be understood solely in the context of our response to the destructive actions of the US. It was a preventive signal to Washington,” said Glukhov.
“We will resort to such a step only if the US does it first,” the diplomat added.
Glukhov was responding to accusations aired by US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Bonnie Jenkins, who claimed that Putin’s speech from February amounted to a threat of renewed atomic testing.
Putin had told Russian lawmakers that Moscow had intelligence that the US was preparing to test new nuclear warheads, and instructed Rosatom and the Russian Defense Ministry to prepare for resumption of tests should the Americans do so.
In the same speech, Putin announced that Moscow was suspending its participation in the New START nuclear arms control treaty, accusing the US of blocking inspections while using Ukraine for a proxy war against Russia. Several Ukrainian drones had just attacked an airbase housing Russian strategic bombers.
The US was the only country to ever use nuclear weapons, leads the world in the number of nuclear tests, and is refusing to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Glukhov reminded the General Assembly.
Russia has both signed and ratified the agreement, adopted by the UNGA in 1996. However, some Russian outlets reported earlier this month that Moscow was contemplating withdrawal from the treaty, in order to be on par with the US.
The Soviet Union carried out its last nuclear test in 1990, while the last US test of the kind was in 1992.
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