Russia Says It Practiced Nuclear Strike

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Russian parliament on Wednesday rescinded its ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty signed in 1996, and, as if for emphasis, the nation’s military then conducted a simulated nuclear strike. State TV showed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reporting on the rehearsal to President Vladimir Putin, the BBC reports. The drill practiced “delivering a massive nuclear strike by strategic offensive forces in response to an enemy nuclear strike,” Shoigu told the president. Now that legislators have approved it, the bill to erase Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty will go to Putin for his approval, per the Hill.

Putin brought up dropping ratification of the treaty last month, pointing out that the US had signed the treaty but never ratified it. “Regrettably, no indications that the US is going to follow this path are visible, and so we have no choice but to balance our position,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He has said that Russia will still adhere to the ban, only resuming nuclear tests if the US does so first. China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, and Egypt haven’t ratified it, either, per the AP.

A Kremlin statement said a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from a test site in the far east of Russia, while another missile was fired from a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea. Putin said earlier this month that the military had conducted a “final successful test” of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Putin also has said that he hasn’t decided whether nuclear tests are necessary, though, he said some experts maintain that they are. State TV showed him overseeing the test Wednesday on a video call. (Read more Russia stories.)

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