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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

VP Kamala Harris publicly mourns Palestinians killed in hostage rescue operation

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Vice President Kamala Harris mourned the Palestinians in Gaza who were killed in the successful Israeli hostage rescue operation this weekend during an address delivered over the weekend.

Israeli forces say Hamas intentionally kept the hostages in a “civilian environment.” They also said even the Palestinians who were holding the hostages were also “civilians.”

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari of the IDF said Hamas has been holding hostages inside civilian buildings, including the locations where Israeli forces rescued Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Andrey Kozlov, 27.

“Before I begin, I just say a few words about the morning which I know weighs heavily on all of our hearts,” she said.

“On Oct. 7, Hamas committed a brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent people and abducted 250 hostages,” she continued. “Thankfully, four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight. And we mourn all of the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today.”

The Israeli operation retrieved four hostages who were taken into Gaza by Hamas on Oct. 7. Harris, speaking before the Michigan Democratic Party, celebrated their retrieval but spent more time lamenting the deaths of Palestinians killed in the operation, many of whom Israel has described as terrorists.

“We have been working every day to bring an end to this conflict in a way that ensures Israel is secure, brings home all hostages, ends ongoing suffering for Palestinian people and ensures that Palestinians can enjoy their right to self-determination, dignity and freedom,” Harris added. “As President Biden said last week, it is time for this war to end.”

Fox News reports that Hamas-run authorities in Gaza claim over 270 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, though they make no distinction between militants and innocents. Israeli forces claim the number was fewer than 100.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also confirmed reports on Sunday that some number of innocents appeared to have been killed in the operation.

“We the United States are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about [the death toll],” Sullivan said in a Sunday interview with CNN. “But we do know this: innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number we don’t know, but innocent people were killed.”

“Every day that we see more innocent people lost is another horrible, awful, tragic day,” he added.

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