MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Washington’s claims that Russia has conducted nuclear tests are a gross provocation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday commenting on the statements of Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency Robert Ashley.
"We consider the US statement that Russia has ‘probably’ carried out low-yield nuclear tests as a gross provocation. Such claims are absolutely unfounded and aimed at trying to again demonize our country," the ministry said.
"Unfortunately, such escapades involving global mass media have become common. As a rule, they occur when Washington seeks to withdraw from another international treaty or is caught with non-compliance," the statement said.
The ministry stressed that it is clear that these provocations are aimed at distracting attention from the US refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). "Moreover, it is not ruled out that Washington may be preparing under this cover to resume its own full-scale nuclear tests," it said.
Russia was one of the first countries to ratify the CTBT in 2000 and it strictly abides by its spirit and letter, and Russia’s 1991 moratorium on nuclear tests fully meets the commitments under this treaty, the ministry noted.
"We are again calling on the US to show a responsible approach and ratify the CTBT, and without this it cannot enter into force. US political and military leaders should bear in mind that the return to the era of nuclear tests may trigger grave consequences for global stability," the statement said.
Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Ashley said that "Russia probably is not adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the zero-yield standard." However, he tried to avoid giving a straightforward answer when asked to clarify whether the US believed that Russia was actually conducting such tests. He just noted that, in his view, Russia has "the capability to do that."
The nuclear testing moratorium has been in effect in Russia for almost three decades. The last such test was conducted at the Novaya Zemlya test site on October 24, 1990.