Moscow rejects the allegations of non-compliance with the Threshold Test Ban Treaty*, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry went on to explain that the US claims regarding Russia's alleged non-compliance with the 1974 treaty between the Soviet Union and the United States on limiting underground nuclear tests were built on completely false premises.
"Predictably, the US allegations that Russia has breached the moratorium on nuclear tests by conducting experiments that do not meet the US 'zero-yield' standard have not been supported by any evidence. Moreover, the US has admitted that it knows neither the number of such tests in 2019, nor whether they have been conducted at all", the ministry spokesperson said.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow's international obligations do not entail compliance with any "US standards" with regard to nuclear tests.
"These insinuations have seemingly been floated to divert attention from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)", the ministry spokesperson said, adding that "by refusing to ratify the CTBT, the US put it on the brink of complete collapse".
For several months now, various Russia officials have voiced concerns about the US government's campaign, aided by the media, to prepare the ground for abandoning the CTBT.
"Claims on Russia's alleged violation of obligations under the 1974 US-Soviet Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests, which stipulate that parties inform each other on any conducted tests, are built on false 'premises", the ministry said.
The multilateral CTBT was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 to halt all nuclear tests, both for civilian and military purposes. The treaty will enter into force once all 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the document ratify it. The United States is among the minority of countries which have not yet ratified the document. All European countries, including Russia, have ratified the treaty.
"We officially confirm that Russia continues to strictly adhere to the declared moratorium on nuclear tests and to comply with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) provisions pertaining to the prohibition of tests, despite the fact that the treaty has not entered into force", a ministry spokesperson said.
The ministry pointed out that any discussions of alleged non-compliance with the United States are counterproductive as long as Washington has not ratified the treaty.
"Unlike the United States, we ratified it 20 years ago and are successfully implementing it. At the same time, we proceed from the fact that any disagreements regarding the criteria for compliance with relevant obligations can and should be resolved within the framework of the CTBT after its entry into force", the spokesperson added.
Russia has the impression that the US is preparing to stop observing the voluntary nuclear test moratorium, the ministry said.
Late last month, the US Department of State released its annual Compliance Report pertaining to the implementation of arms control commitments by the US and other countries. Russia, in particular, has been alleged in having conducted "nuclear weapons-related experiments that have created nuclear yield" in violation of the 1974 US-Soviet Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests, also known as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT). In the very next sentence, the State Department clarified that it "does not know how many, if any" such experiments were conducted by Moscow in 2019.
*The Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapons Tests, also known as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), was signed in July 1974 by the United States and the Soviet Union. The treaty established a nuclear "threshold" by prohibiting nuclear tests of devices having a yield surpassing 150 kilotons after 31 March 1976.