The deadly explosion nearly a week ago took place at a military shooting range in Nyonoksa, located in the far northern Arkhangelsk region.
Russia’s state weather agency, Rosgidromet, revealed Tuesday that radiation levels had spiked by four to 16 times after the accident in the port city of Severodvinsk, located about 12 miles from the military testing range. Local authorities in Severodvinsk, a city of 183,000, initially reported a brief spike in radiation levels after the explosion but claimed it didn’t pose any health hazards.
But by Tuesday, Russia’s military told residents in Nyonoksa, a village of about 500, to leave as part of an evacuation already planned due to unspecified activities at the test range. Hours later, however, the military said the planned activities were canceled and residents were allowed to stay home, Severodvinsk regional administration told the Associated Press.
Five scientists who were working on the project were killed in the mysterious explosion at an offshore Russian military site.
The Russian state-controlled nuclear agency, Rosatom, had initially claimed the explosion occurred during a rocket test.
They were then forced to admit that it was a lie due to the elevated levels of radiation recorded in a nearby city. This caused U.S. experts to begin to suspect that the explosion may have involved a nuclear-powered cruise missile like those Russian President Vladimir Putin said that they were developing in a 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly.
So if they had to lie about it at first, then you know it’s something they shouldn’t have been doing or didn’t want public knowledge of. I especially don’t think they wanted the U.S. to know about it because that’s going to raise concerns about additional nuclear weapons.