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US Believes Russia Has Restarted Low-Yield Nuclear Tests

US officials on Wednesday said the government thinks that Russia has begun to conduct low-yield nuclear tests again, which would be a violation of “the zero-yield standard” that is part of the international nuclear test ban treaty. The officials stated that the tests could be conducted to improve a range of new tactical nuclear weapons being developed by Russia.

While this news implies that a new nuclear arms race may be in the making, various analysts suggest that the US government claims were somewhat hyperbolic because the mentioned tests are not likely to be related to Russian efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal.

Senator Edward J. Markey (D) of Massachusetts warned that the US government “should not be pushed into shortsighted moves, like resuming nuclear testing, abandoning arms control agreements or developing more low-yield weapons.” Instead, he suggested that reports of new nuclear tests should be investigated via “test-site visits allowed by the treaty” and that Russia should be held “accountable for any malign behavior.”

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