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Nuclear Blackmail by Russia Reaches New Heights

At the beginning of October, Russian President Vladimir Putin took an initiative to withdraw the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), in the context of testing new delivery systems - the ICBM "Sarmat" and the cruise missile "Burevestnik."

During a session of the Valdai Discussion Club, he stated that there was no need to change Russia's nuclear doctrine but suggested the possibility of withdrawing from the CTBT, citing the United States' non-ratification of the treaty. On October 18, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a bill to withdraw the ratification of the CTBT (which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 1996, signed by 185 countries, and ratified by 170, including three nuclear-armed states: France, Russia, and the United Kingdom).

Russia traditionally blamed Washington for reneging on its earlier commitments, citing an "irresponsible attitude towards global security" on the part of the United States. However, unlike Russia, the United States, while maintaining nuclear weapons, has not engaged in a major and bloody war on the European continent and has not used these weapons as a bargaining chip in political confrontations.

Once again, the Kremlin disregarded any peaceful initiatives from other countries, demonstrating its readiness to use the nuclear issue if the situation deteriorates for them. As a nuclear state, Russia has grossly violated all the key principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The aggressor state has nullified the nuclear disarmament process, rejected the principle of nuclear non-proliferation (deployment of nuclear weapons in occupied Crimea, transferring some tactical nuclear weapons to the territory of Belarus), and seized nuclear facilities in Ukraine. This is the first instance in history of transforming civilian nuclear facilities into military targets and a foothold for the Russian army. The threat of Russia transferring its nuclear developments to Iran and North Korea cannot be ruled out.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, talks about the use of nuclear weapons have been constantly heard from Moscow. Nuclear rhetoric regularly appears in the speeches of propagandists and occasionally in the statements of Russian state leaders. Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has been issuing new threats against the West. He has warned the United States of a "new terrorist act in the style of September 11, 2001, but with an atomic or biological component" and even a nuclear strike. RT's Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan, proposed detonating a nuclear bomb in the sky over Siberia to leave the world without communication means and disable all satellites in the earth's orbit. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, stated that Russian nuclear weapons were "created by God's providence" and allowed Russia to remain "independent and free." The most resonant incident occurred in June 2023 with an article by Kremlin-affiliated political scientist Sergei Karaganov, who proposed using nuclear weapons to compel the West to abandon its support for Ukraine.

Russia continues to stoke nuclear hysteria. Russian State Duma deputy Andrey Gurulev stated that the Russian Federation must prepare for a nuclear war to defeat Ukraine and "not let down its partners." Some Russian security experts and lawmakers have called for the resumption of nuclear testing to "warn" the West. All of this is part of the Kremlin's consistent policy of intimidating and blackmailing the entire world. Moscow is taking these steps because neither military actions nor diplomatic efforts are yielding the desired results for the occupiers. Putin is using nuclear blackmail to intimidate and prevent NATO allies from supporting Ukraine in its struggle against Russian occupiers, but he will not succeed.

Russia's nuclear hysteria is prompting other countries to develop their own nuclear programs, as the security assurances provided by Moscow in exchange for Ukraine's abandonment of its nuclear potential have proven to be worthless. If the Budapest Memorandum had not been signed in 1994 and if Ukraine had nuclear weapons, there would certainly have been no war between Russia and Ukraine. In response to Russia's nuclear blackmail, the West has given a firm answer: the United States, along with European allies, conducted strategic exercises of nuclear deterrence. Moreover, these practical steps were accompanied by official and unofficial warnings to the Russian leadership regarding the consequences of using nuclear weapons. Even China will not allow Russia to scatter nuclear bombs, as this would affect not only the Russian Federation but also other nuclear countries that have specific obligations.

Russia is an irresponsible steward of a vast nuclear arsenal. Therefore, one of the priority security tasks in the near future, not only for Ukraine's allies but for all of humanity, should be the denuclearization of Russia. Everyone in the world who values security must work together to put an end to all forms of nuclear blackmail that Russia is trying to normalize. Russia must understand that nuclear war must never happen, and there can be no winners in such a war.

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