Calling the United States “irresponsible,” the Soviet Union announced today that it is ending its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing because of the continuing test explosions in Nevada.
A statement from the Soviet government published by the official Tass press agency said Moscow “declares itself free from the unilateral commitment made by it to refrain from conducting any nuclear explosions” because Washington has ignored what it termed Soviet warnings against nuclear testing.
The statement did not say when the Soviets would resume underground nuclear test blasts, which are never announced or reported here.
A U.S. nuclear device was detonated Thursday 1,300 feet underground in Rainier Mesa, 93 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Mankind Put Second
The Soviets today accused Washington of placing military ambitions over the interests of mankind.
In announcing that the moratorium was ending after eight months, the statement said: “At the same time, the Soviet government again reaffirms its proposals to start immediately talks on a full prohibition of nuclear weapons testing.
“The U.S.S.R. is prepared for any form of talks, any type of agreement on that score. . . . “
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev imposed the Soviet moratorium last Aug. 6, the 40th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and extended it twice. He said last month it would run beyond March 31 only until the United States carried out its next nuclear test blast.
Required for Security
White House spokesman Edward Djerejian said today in Washington that America earlier “made it abundantly clear that we require nuclear testing for our security.”
“Accordingly, we intend to pursue the current testing program,” he said. “I think we have to note that the Soviets have been making preparations for some time now to resume nuclear testing.”
The Soviet statement today made no mention of a second Soviet-U.S. summit due to take place this year, or how it might be affected by failure to agree on a nuclear test ban.
Tass said the Thursday test contradicted a joint statement issued by Reagan and Gorbachev after the Nov. 19-21 summit in Geneva. The statement said, among other things, that neither side would seek military superiority over the other.
Today’s Tass statement said that “in the conditions that Washington is continuing its nuclear explosions, the Soviet state cannot forgo its own security and that of its allies. . . . “
“The American government’s irresponsible actions are an open challenge not only to the Soviet Union but . . . to the world as a whole.”
Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, said today that the U.S. testing program is essential to ensure the reliability of nuclear arms.