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'Steadfast Noon': NATO set to hold major nuclear exercise next week as Russia warns to abandon test ban treaty

Every year, NATO conducts the "Steadfast Noon" exercise, which lasts for roughly a week. It involves fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads but does not involve any live bombs.

Anurag Roushan Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan Brussels Updated on: October 12, 2023 21:07 IST
NATO
Image Source : AP/REPRESENTATIVE NATO is set to hold a major nuclear exercise next week

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief Jens Stoltenberg announced that the intergovernmental military alliance will hold a major nuclear exercise next week. His statement came after Russia warned it would pull out of a global nuclear test ban agreement. Every year, NATO conducts the "Steadfast Noon" exercise, which lasts for roughly a week. It involves fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads but does not involve any live bombs.

There are fighter jets carrying nuclear warheads in it, but no live bombs are used. In addition, Conventional jets and surveillance and refuelling aircraft also routinely take part.

Where will the exercise take place? 

"This is a routine training event that happens every October. This year the training will take place over Italy, Croatia and the Mediterranean Sea," Stoltenberg stated, as per the Associated Press (AP).  He said the exercise will help ensure the "credibility, effectiveness and security of our nuclear deterrent, and it sends a clear message that NATO will protect and defend all allies. According to him, Russia's war on Ukraine is a reminder of the important role that NATO's nuclear weapons play in deterring aggression.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, adopted in 1996 and known as the CTBT, bans all nuclear explosions anywhere in the world, although it has never fully entered into force. It was signed by both the Russian and US presidents but was never ratified by the United States.

Why Russia decided to pull out of treaty? 

Earlier on Tuesday, a top Russian diplomat said that Moscow would pull out of the treaty to put itself on par with the United States but would only resume nuclear tests if Washington does it first. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that Russia will rescind its ratification to “mirror” the action by the US. He warned that in the case of a US nuclear test, “we will be forced to mirror that as well.

A day later Stoltenberg said the move “demonstrates Russia's lack of respect, and the continued disregard for its international commitments. “This is reckless and endangers the global norms against nuclear explosive testing," he added. Stoltenberg also said that NATO allies have no plans to start testing again. He accused President Vladimir Putin of trying “to use this nuclear rhetoric to prevent NATO allies from supporting Ukraine, but he will not succeed, because again it is in our security interest that Ukraine prevails.

About NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance between 31 member states – 29 European and two North American. Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implemented the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington DC on April 4, 1949.  NATO is a collective security system and its independent member states agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties.

(With inputs from AP)

ALSO READ: NATO to hold its biggest military exercise since Cold War in 2024 with more than 40,000 troops

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