NATO began a week of nuclear weapons drills Monday, as the Russian parliament plans to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. CND calls on both the US and Russia to stop escalating nuclear risks and work to bring the nuclear test ban treaty into force.
The annual Steadfast Noon exercise was announced by NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg last Thursday and will involve up to 60 aircraft in non-live drills across southern Europe. 13 members of the military bloc will take part and will include US B-52 bombers, as well as surveillance and refueling aircraft. In its statement, NATO insisted that the drills are “not linked to current world events and the bulk of the training is held at least 1,000 kilometres from Russia’s borders.”
Deputies in Russia’s Duma are also expected to vote this week on revoking the country’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996 and Russia ratified it in 2000. However, the treaty is yet to come into force as eight countries – including the nuclear-armed states of the US, China, and Israel – have signed but not ratified the ban. Pakistan, India, and North Korea haven’t signed the treaty and have all conducted tests in the years since it opened for signature.
The Duma’s plan to de-ratify the treaty follows suggestions by President Vladimir Putin that Russia could revoke its ratification to bring it in line with the US. The last nuclear tests conducted by Moscow and Washington took place in 1990 and 1992 respectively and a moratorium has been observed by both since.
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
“We urge the Russian government not to de-ratify this crucial treaty, and we urge the US to ratify it with all possible speed. Since former president Trump talked of recommencing nuclear weapons testing, that spectre has been haunting the world. Now we need full assurance from all nuclear states that this will not happen. A functioning nuclear test ban treaty is vital for a secure future for our planet and for all forms of life. Any resumption of nuclear testing would only add to the dangers that we – as humanity – currently face.”