The exhibition featured a recreation of the 1961 explosion of the 50-megaton Tsar Bomb, the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated. The original blast's shockwaves reportedly circled the earth three times, with a mushroom cloud reaching the stratosphere and glass shattering in houses within a 500-mile radius, according to The Sun.
Putin, situated in a recreated Soviet Russia-era nuclear testing bunker, watched the simulation through a narrow slit. Despite the potential of being loud, an exhibition guide reassured him, saying, "Don't be scared."
Putin reportedly was offered the opportunity to press a mock "big red button," which he declined, The Sun reported.
Speculation swirled that the exhibition aimed to instill fear in the West amid countries' support for Ukraine.
On Nov. 2, Putin signed legislation officially withdrawing Russia from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a move described by Russian officials as a step toward balancing power with the West.
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The CTBT, adopted in 1996, prohibits all nuclear explosions globally, but its full implementation has been lacking, with the U.S., China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran and Egypt not fully complying.
There are widespread concerns Russia's withdrawal could lead to a resurgence of nuclear tests, not only by Russia but by other nations as well.
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In October, following the Russian Parliament's decision to end CTBT ratification, reports indicated that Russia conducted dramatic nuclear strike simulations. These drills, overseen by Putin through video conferencing with top military officials, involved multiple practice launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Despite these developments, Putin fulfilled diplomatic obligations on December 4 by receiving a group of new ambassadors at the Kremlin, including the new British envoy Nigel Casey. Casey, emphasizing the importance of maintaining relations, noted the significance of addressing the human suffering caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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