Yars intercontinental ballistic missile
© Sputnik / Gavriil GrigorovYars intercontinental ballistic missile
Russia will not break its moratorium on nuclear tests unless the US does so first, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has told RT, reiterating Moscow's pledge on the issue.

Earlier this month, Russia revoked its ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits all live nuclear explosions. Moscow remains a signatory to the treaty and has vowed to observe the terms of the agreement, even though its commitment is no longer formally valid.

Zakharova stated that Russia has a "principled stance on nuclear weapons and their use," as formulated in official doctrine and reiterated on many occasions by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia downgraded its participation in the CTBT to match that of the US. The treaty has yet to come into force internationally because it requires ratification by nations with access to certain nuclear technologies.

In late October, after Moscow announced its intention, the US conducted an experiment at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), a nuclear test facility. The test involved a chemical explosion and did not violate the terms of the treaty, Zakharova noted. She added that Moscow was monitoring American actions regarding nuclear tests.

Nuclear weapons came up in Zakharova's interview with RT in the context of the Israeli military operation in Gaza. Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu recently suggested that his nation could deploy nuclear weapons in the Palestinian enclave. West Jerusalem neither confirms nor denies that it has a nuclear arsenal, which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates to include 80 devices.

Zakharova said Moscow considered the nuclear threat unacceptable and appreciated the speed with which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had disavowed his minister's statements. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US during World War II would hopefully remain the last nuclear strikes in history, Zakharova added.