Russia ready to resume nuclear weapons testing

(BBC) Escalation. It’s become President Putin’s watchword.
And we saw more of it today.

“Russia suspends its participation in the New Start treaty,” announced the Kremlin leader in his state of the nation address as he blamed the West.

New Start is the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and America. It limits the nuclear arsenals of the two countries.

But there was more.

The Russian president announced that he had signed a decree on “putting new ground-based strategic complexes on combat standby duty”.

He warned that Russia was ready to resume nuclear weapons testing.

“Of course, we will not do it first,” President Putin added. “But if the US conducts tests, we will do it as well.”

New Start had been in trouble. Last month Washington had accused Moscow of violating the agreement by refusing to allow inspection activities on its territory.

Moscow’s suspension of its participation in the treaty raises the stakes.

“This is more about nuclear blackmail, but it is extremely dangerous,” believes Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “because we cannot predict how Putin will behave in the future and what is in his mind.

“In order to avoid nuclear war, it’s better to have a framework,” he added.

“By losing this framework we are witnessing the real threat of a nuclear war.”

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