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U.S intelligence suspects that Russia is no longer adhering to an international treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons testing.
The results of a U.S intelligence assessment released Wednesday constitute the first time that the U.S has accused Russia of not adhering to stipulations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear-testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the ‘zero yield’ standard,” Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, said Wednesday during a presentation at the Hudson Institute.
“We believe they have the capability to do it, the way that they’re set up,” Ashley continued.
It is suspected that the Russian military has conducted low-yield nuclear test in Novaya Zemlya, a remote arctic archipelago in Russia, according to the U.S intelligence assessment.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear test explosions, is not ratified in enough countries to officially take effect.
But several nations, including the U.S. and Russia, have agreed to follow the treaty’s terms.
Experiments to improve the safety and function of nuclear weapons are permitted under the terms of the treaty, so long as the experiments do not produce any explosive yield, according to The WSJ.
Arms control advocates say that the best way to ensure the terms of the treaty are being followed internationally would be to ratify it.
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“The most effective way for the United States to enforce compliance with the zero-yield standard is for the U.S. to ratify the treaty and help bring it into force, which would allow for intrusive, short-notice on-site inspections,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told The WSJ.
In February, the Trump administration withdrew the U.S from a the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty after alleging Russia violated the treaty’s terms.
A U.S-Russian treaty concerning long-range nuclear weapons is set to expire in February of 2021, with the Trump administration considering whether or not to renew the treaty or renegotiate, according to The WSJ.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to officials at the Russian Embassy in Washington, but they were unable to comment in time for publication.
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