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Putin Says Russia Won't Test Nukes If Other States Don't

Moscow, 31 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will continue refraining from nuclear tests, but on the condition that other countries don't conduct them. Speaking on a trip to Russia's top nuclear weapons center in the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast city of Sarov, Putin said Russia has not conducted nuclear tests for many years.

He said Russia is committed to a ban on such tests, as long as other countries do not resume nuclear testing. Putin did not name any countries.

The United States has been seeking to reduce the time it would need to restart nuclear tests. Russia has been urging Washington to adhere to an international moratorium on nuclear testing.

More than 30 countries, including Russia but not the U.S., have ratified a 1996 accord that bans nuclear tests.