On November 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law canceling Russia's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to align with the United States. Russia clarified that it would only resume testing if the U.S.
did, and the withdrawal of ratification wouldn't change its nuclear stance or information-sharing practices. This news surprised many leaders around the world, as well as citizens. Many are aware of what this could mean for the future of the war in Ukraine, and also for the future of the world.
Putin's moves send a clear message. This could have been foreseen for a long time. Given that Vladimir was failing to achieve his war goals, it was clear that the threat of nuclear weapons could emerge. Although the message is not direct, we are all aware of what Putin wants to say.
There are concerns among Western arms control experts that Russia might move closer to conducting nuclear tests for deterrence, particularly given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. On October 5, Putin didn't commit to whether Russia would resume nuclear testing, though some Russian security experts and lawmakers called for such a test as a warning to the West.
This move could potentially trigger a new era of nuclear testing by major powers, which raises alarms among Western analysts. The fact is that a nuclear war this time would have catastrophic proportions for the population, and we cannot even imagine what that would mean.
The law to withdraw ratification, signed by Putin, was swiftly published on the government's website and is effective immediately. Both houses of the Russian parliament endorsed the decision. The Russians are aware that they have to take such steps, given that there is a crisis within the country.
Besides sanctions, the Russians do not have that much success on the front either. Notably, post-Soviet Russia has never conducted a nuclear test, with the last Soviet test in 1990 and the last U.S. test in 1992.