The progression toward a renewed nuclear arms race took another step forward today when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law withdrawing Russia’s ratification of the global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests. “Russia’s action will only serve to set back confidence in the international arms control regime,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement today. Russia’s deratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which was recently passed through the Duma (Russia’s legislative body), brings Russia into line with the United States, which signed, but never ratified the treaty.

While Russian diplomats have been quoted saying that Russia will not resume nuclear testing unless the United States does, both countries are now in a posture where they will take increased steps toward testing readiness at their respective test sites.

Additionally, both countries are developing new nuclear weapons designs that they plan to add to their active stockpiles over the next few years and decades. This includes the W87-1 being designed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These designs stray in significant ways from the already tested designs in the stockpile, thereby creating pressure to resume testing to ensure the surety of these new designs.

Since the conclusion of the CTBT in 1996, it has been signed by 187 countries, and nuclear testing has become taboo. Tri-Valley CAREs signed on to a joint statement with several dozen other non-governmental organizations to all 197 CTBT states parties and signatories titled, “Advancing the CTBT and Defending the De Facto Nuclear Test Moratorium In Light of Russian Moves to De-ratify the Treaty.”

Check back for more on the push to resume nuclear testing soon.