Russia Begins Nuclear Drills Following Decision to Rescind Test Ban Treaty

( – Russia wasted no time resuming its nuclear drills after suddenly scrapping a treaty that banned nuclear drills and tests.

According to Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Defense Minister, the drills were held to test the Russian military’s ability to respond with a substantial nuclear attack if they were to suffer a nuclear strike. The drill was personally directed by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s legislative body voted to scrap its ratification of the global treaty the same day the exercise was conducted, even though Putin has not yet signed off on it. If signed, the nation could begin new nuclear tests with live explosions. Experts believe such exercises could inflame global tensions during the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

While Russia conducts similar exercises annually, the hosting of a drill immediately after ending the treaty has led to concern among some analysts. Putin threatened nuclear retaliation if Western nations interfered with its attack against Ukraine on the same day that its invasion began.

If Russia does resume nuclear weapons tests, it would be the first time since 1990. It would also spark heavy tensions among Western nations. It would also be the second nation to test an actual nuclear explosion in the 21st century. North Korea is the only other country to do so since the 90s.

Putin claimed that Russia would not conduct nuclear tests unless the United States did so first. However, he also stated that mass production of Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental nuclear-capable missile will begin soon. The weapons will be combat-ready when finished.

Russia also ended its part in the New START treaty earlier this year. That agreement enforced limits on the production of nuclear weapons in both the US and Russia. It was the last atomic treaty still held between the two countries. Experts believe Russia holds the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. However, Russia stressed that it was merely suspending the treaty, not leaving it entirely. U.N. researcher Andrey Baklitskiy says he’s confident that Russia will not violate the treaty’s terms.

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