The Kremlin on Friday downplayed the idea that Russia could prepare to conduct a nuclear weapons test, saying that all nuclear states adhered to a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing.
It was in response to an interview by Lynne Tracy, the US ambassador to Moscow, who told the newspaper Kommersant that Russia was the only country talking about the possible resumption of nuclear tests.
President Vladimir Putin said in February, citing no evidence, that some in Washington are considering breaking a moratorium on nuclear tests and that Russia should be willing to act in kind.
“If the United States carries out tests, we will. No one should harbor the dangerous illusion that global strategic parity can be destroyed,” Putin said.
When asked about Tracy’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov downplayed the idea that Moscow was planning its own nuclear test.
The Kremlin on Friday downplayed the idea that Russia could prepare to conduct a nuclear weapons test, saying that all nuclear states adhered to a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. Pictured: A Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile being test launched last year, in a photo released by Russia
President Vladimir Putin said in February, citing no evidence, that some in Washington were considering breaking a moratorium on nuclear tests and that Russia should be willing to act in kind.
“At the moment everyone is adhering to the moratorium. There is nothing more to say here,” he told reporters.
Nuclear tensions between Russia and the United States have increased since the start of the conflict with Ukraine, with Putin repeatedly warning that Russia is ready to use its nuclear arsenal if necessary to defend its “territorial integrity.”
Indeed, Russia’s foreign ministry today criticized a nuclear deal between the US and South Korea, claiming it would destabilize the region and the rest of the world.
The United States on Wednesday promised to give South Korea more insight into its nuclear planning, while Seoul pledged not to look for nuclear weapons itself in a deal that both sides say was aimed at North Korea.
Russia has repeatedly railed against what it sees as the growing military presence of the United States across Asia.
“This development is clearly destabilizing in nature and will have serious negative consequences for regional security, with implications for global stability,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Moscow said the United States and NATO’s pursuit of “decisive military superiority” would produce “nothing but escalating tensions” and could “provoke an arms race.”
Washington has accused Moscow of nuclear saber over several statements by Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, since the start of the war in Ukraine that Russia would be willing to use nuclear weapons to defend its “territorial integrity.”
And in February, Putin announced that Russia was suspending its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear weapons pact with the United States, which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that either side can deploy.
State Secretary Antony Blinken called the decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible”.
It comes after Russia informed the UN nuclear watchdog that equipment spotted at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russia, will be used to repair a power line leading into Russian territory, the watchdog said Friday.
The planned rehabilitation of the downed power line could increase Ukrainian fears that Russia is preparing to connect Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, to the power grid of the area it controls.
A motorcade carrying the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission, escorted by the Russian military, arrives at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on March 29.
A small number of International Atomic Energy Agency officials are present at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), which is operated by Ukrainian personnel working on behalf of the Russian armed forces and the Russian nuclear company Rosatom.
‘The (IAEA) team found, and the following questions were subsequently communicated, that a large piece of equipment transported to the Unit 3 turbine hall was a transformer to replace the damaged ‘Kakhovka’ node in the ZNPP open switching station ,” the IAEA said in a statement.
The Kakhovka line is one of four 750 kV (kilovolt) lines that were operational before the military conflict. This line is connected to the electricity grid currently controlled by Russia, south of the ZNPP site,” it added.
Only one of those four power lines is currently operational and is the only external power source for the plant, which is needed to continue cooling the fuel in the six reactors, even though they have been shut down.
If that fuel is not cooled, it could lead to a potentially catastrophic meltdown.
The IAEA said it was also unable to access the switching station of a nearby thermal power plant (TPP) that can provide backup power to Zaporizhzhia. The IAEA last visited that switching station in December, when shelling damage was observed.
“Two weeks ago, the team was informed that access would be granted in the coming days. It is important that ISAMZ (the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia) is given the necessary access to ZTPP’s open switchgear, given the implications for nuclear safety and security at ZNPP.’