Kremlin says point of de-ratifying nuclear test ban treaty would be to match US

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The aim of revoking Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would be to place it on level terms with the United States, not to signal an intention to resume testing, the Kremlin said on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia could look at revoking its ratification of the CTBT, and parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Friday that lawmakers would swiftly consider the issue.

Both Russia and the United States have signed the CTBT, but Moscow has ratified it and Washington has not.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about Putin’s comments at a regular briefing on Friday.

“What did the president mean? He primarily meant the need to bring the de facto situation to a common denominator. A long time ago, we signed and ratified, but the Americans did not ratify,” Peskov said.

“To bring the situation to a common denominator, the president allowed for the possibility of revoking this ratification. Volodin declared his readiness to do just that. This does not constitute a statement of intention to conduct nuclear tests.”

Russia and the United States are by far the biggest nuclear powers. Both have expressed regret about the disintegration of the tangle of arms control treaties which sought to slow the Cold War arms race and reduce the risk of nuclear war.

Amid the crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict, President Vladimir Putin announced in February that Russia was suspending participation in the New START treaty - an agreement signed in 2010 that limits the number of Russian and US deployed strategic nuclear warheads.

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