Russia accuses US of nuclear testing site activity, says it won’t test unless US does
Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of carrying out preparatory work at a nuclear testing site in Nevada but said that Moscow would not restart its own nuclear testing programme unless Washington did.
The comments, by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, come as Russia’s lower house of parliament urgently studies how to revoke Moscow’s ratification of a landmark treaty banning nuclear tests and as tensions with the West are at their highest level since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
A nuclear test by the United States or Russia could encourage others such as China to follow suit, starting a new nuclear arms race between the big powers, which stopped nuclear testing in the years after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
“The indications are that there is or was, at least until recently, (preparatory) work underway at the Nevada Testing Site,” the TASS state news agency cited Ryabkov as saying.
The United States last tested in 1992 and the Soviet Union in 1990. The facility Ryabkov referred to is located in a vast tract of desert where hundreds of nuclear explosions have been detonated since 1951.
“If they go down this (testing) path, then the position that was stated by the president of the Russian Federation will be triggered – that we will be forced to mirror this as well. This is when a completely different situation arises, but the responsibility for whether it will or won’t arise lies with Washington.”