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Russian Eyes on U.S. Nuclear Experiment: Sparks Fly Amidst Treaty Tensions

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In a story that reads like a Cold War thriller, Russian state-run media is on high alert, closely tracking a high-explosive experiment conducted by the United States at a Nevada nuclear test site earlier this week.

This week’s explosive test, employing chemicals and radioisotopes, aimed to “validate new predictive explosion models” geared towards enhancing the detection of atomic blasts on foreign soil, according to reports from Fox News. The U.S. Department of Energy, provided insight into the secretive experiment.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has taken the center stage, addressing reporters at a briefing and confirming Russia’s intense scrutiny of the situation. This development is poised to add another layer of complexity to already strained U.S.-Russia relations.

The Federation Council, a key component of the Russian Federal Assembly, has made it clear that it views the underground tests on October 18 in Nevada as an issue requiring international legal scrutiny.

They stress that the United States, being a signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), is bound by obligations to avoid violating the treaty.

Amidst these cloak-and-dagger maneuvers, Corey Hinderstein, the Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, emphasized the significance of these experiments.

According to Hinderstein, they’re not just scientific endeavors; they’re strategic moves designed to bolster U.S. nuclear nonproliferation objectives. The goal is to step up the game in detecting underground nuclear explosive tests, thereby pushing back against global nuclear threats.

But what truly adds an element of urgency to this unfolding saga is its timing. As the U.S. conducts these experiments, Russian lawmakers have dropped a bombshell of their own, announcing intentions to withdraw Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The news is sending shockwaves through the international community.

A bill outlining this withdrawal will soon make its way to the Russian upper house, the Federation Council. Lawmakers there have already pledged their support for this bold move.

Moreover, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, in existence since 1996, is designed to prevent all nuclear explosions worldwide. But it has struggled to gain universal acceptance, with nations like China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, and Egypt yet to ratify it.

Adding fuel to the fire, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made it clear last week that Moscow will continue to adhere to the ban and will only resume nuclear tests if the United States takes the plunge first. This taut diplomatic dance underscores the intricate web of global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, where each move is shadowed by the looming specter of international relations and the precarious future of global security. In an era marked by unpredictability and tensions, every action carries the weight of consequence.

Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!

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International

Report: North Korean ballistic missile fired by Russia into Ukraine contained components sourced from U.S.

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A new report from Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a U.K.-based investigative organization, determined that a North Korean ballistic missile which was fired by Russia into Ukraine contained “numerous” electronic components sourced from the U.S. and Europe.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on the findings, noting approximately 75% of the 290 components analyzed in the missile originated from U.S.-based companies, and an additional 16% of components came from European firms, according to the CAR report.

The electronic components came from 26 countries in total and were largely utilized in the missile’s navigation system, according to the report. It isn’t clear how the components ended up in North Korea’s possession, as the country is strictly sanctioned by a bulk of the international community, but it’s possible other foreign companies, acting as middlemen, bought the components and then diverted them to the communist country.

However, the fact that North Korea was able to acquire so many American electronic component parts suggests “that the country has developed a robust acquisition network capable of circumventing, without detection, sanction regimes that have been in place for nearly two decades,” according to the report.

CAR documents “weapons at the point of use and track their sources back through the chains of supply.”North Korea gathered the components, assembled the missile and shipped it to Russia, all within a relatively short time period, according to the report. The missile was recovered by CAR on Jan. 2, and the investigators determined it could not have been manufactured before March 2023.

The U.S. government and intelligence agencies are working to stop sensitive American intellectual property from ending up in the hands of several foreign adversaries. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have strengthened their relationship since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“Due in part to our export and sanction controls, Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage, and they’ve been forced to look to like-minded states for military equipment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing in January. “One of those states is North Korea.”

 

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