President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed into law Russia’s de-ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a landmark agreement that aims to completely ban all nuclear tests.
The law’s text on Russia’s legal portal states that Moscow will no longer be bound by the UN-backed nuclear test ban starting Nov. 2.
Both Russia and the United States signed the treaty in 1996, but while Moscow ratified it in 2000, Washington never took the final step of codifying it into law.
Other holdouts to the treaty include China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, as well as Egypt and Iran, both of which have not yet developed nuclear weapons themselves.
As a result, CTBT never came into force as it was not ratified by all required signatories.
In early October, Putin said that revoking Moscow's ratification of the treaty would “mirror [Russia's] relations with the United States.”
The Kremlin previously denied that it intended to carry out nuclear weapons tests if it moved ahead with de-ratification.
“The president was primarily referring to the need to bring the de facto situation to a common denominator [with the U.S.],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in October.
As Russian lawmakers moved through the legal process to de-ratify CTBT in recent weeks, news reports said that both Russia and the United States were conducting high-explosive tests and nuclear strike drills, raising concerns about a new arms race between the two countries.