Russia’ll Deploy Nuclear Weapons If US Does—President Putin

In response to worries over a potential resurgence of an arms race, President Vladimir Putin has indicated that if the United States were to resume nuclear testing, Russia might contemplate a similar course of action. 

Putin emphasized this stance while addressing a query regarding tactical nuclear arms, underscoring that Russia has refrained from utilizing weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

“Weapons exist to be used. We have our own principles, and they imply that we are ready to use any weapons, including the ones you mentioned, if we are talking about the existence of the Russian state, in case of a threat to our sovereignty and independence. 

“Everything is written in our Strategy, we haven’t changed it,” he said.

In June 2020, Putin endorsed a decree outlining Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy, permitting the use of nuclear arms under specific circumstances.

One such scenario involves aggression against Russia using conventional weapons when the state’s existence is imperiled.

Russia reduced its commitment to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in November 2023, mirroring the longstanding stance of the US, which had abstained from ratifying it for over 25 years.

The CTBT, aimed at prohibiting all nuclear explosions, whether for military or peaceful purposes, garnered signatures from 187 nations and ratification from 178. Russia initially ratified the treaty in 2000.

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Among the countries that never ratified the CTBT are the US, along with other nuclear powers such as China, India, and Pakistan, while all EU member states have ratified it.

Russian authorities clarified that exiting the treaty doesn’t imply a return to nuclear testing unless the US pursues the same course.

In November, former US President and current candidate Donald Trump emphasized to Univision that “nuclear warming” from atomic warfare poses a real threat to the world, not global warming.

The Trump administration withdrew from two significant Cold War arms control pacts, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Open Skies Treaty, citing alleged Russian breaches. Additionally, it delayed extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), advocating for a new treaty encompassing China.

President Joe Biden’s administration extended New START until 2026 but dismissed Russia’s comprehensive security proposal in late 2021, escalating tensions preceding the Ukraine conflict.

Moscow has suspended New START with the US, deeming it futile as Washington pursues Russia’s “strategic defeat” in Ukraine.