Fifty-seven years ago, through the Outer Space Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to codify a fundamental nuclear taboo: nuclear weapons shall not be stationed in orbit or elsewhere in outer space.
The decision means that the remaining Russia-U.S. nuclear arms control treaty limiting the world’s largest nuclear arsenals will expire in 2026.
With less than two years to go before the expiration of the last remaining treaty limiting the world's two largest arsenals, Russian leaders continue to reject U.S. offers to discuss a new nuclear arms control framework.
Russia said it will respond to the formal written U.S. arms control proposal, which was announced in June but was not transmitted until September.
Russia’s move to withdraw its ratification from the 1996 treaty is a reminder that the de facto global test moratorium cannot be taken for granted.
The Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States suggests that in response to Russia’s nuclear and military behavior and the anticipated growth of China’s strategic nuclear arsenal, the United States must be prepared to add more capability and flexibility to the U.S. strategic deterrent and enhance its missile defense capabilities.
Consideration by the Russian Duma to “de-ratify” the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would be a "clumsy, self-defeating gimmick," say nuclear nonproliferation experts with no effect on United States nuclear test ban policy.
Despite Russian comments, a U.S. spokesperson said the Biden administration privately conveyed an arms control proposal announced in June.
A senior Russian official said the Kremlin is waiting for an official diplomatic communication from the Biden administration following a speech outlining the U.S. approach by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
The decades-long effort to halt and reverse an arms race involving the world’s deadliest weapons may soon number among the casualties of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of independent, non-nuclear Ukraine and his increasingly reckless nuclear threats.