Russia on Tuesday claimed that it was winning the race to develop new, far-flying nuclear weapons despite a rocket explosion in the country that forced the government to temporarily evacuate a nearby village.
Moscow’s state nuclear agency Rosatom said the accident in northern Russia happened Thursday during a rocket test on a sea platform in the White Sea, killing five people and injuring three others from the Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov, according to multiple news outlets.
Russia pledged to keep developing new weapons despite the explosion and said Moscow is ahead of other nations in developing such arms.
“Our president has repeatedly said that Russian engineering in this sector significantly outstrips the level that other countries have managed to reach for the moment, and it is fairly unique,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecurity analyst calls Trump’s language on Hong Kong protests ‘inappropriate’ Americans’ opinions about China hit record low: survey Pentagon watchdog says it is officially reviewing billion ‘war cloud’ contract MORE on Monday tweeted that the United States was “learning much” from the explosion, which he suggested involved a new nuclear-powered cruise missile that NATO has dubbed Skyfall.
Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia: Radiation levels up to 16 times higher than normal after rocket test explosion Scaramucci breaks up with Trump in now-familiar pattern Help wanted: American ambassador in Moscow MORE last year announced the new missile, which is called 9M730 Burevestnik, or Stormy Petrel. Moscow boasts that the new weapon will have “unlimited range” and cannot be stopped by any defenses.
But Trump on Monday claimed that the United States has “similar, though more advanced, technology.”
Tensions have grown between Washington and Moscow over arms control issues. On Friday, the United States formally left the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.
The INF Treaty, signed in 1987, was meant to prevent the U.S. and Russia from developing and having nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles that have ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
The U.S. has said the Kremlin was violating the treaty for years, claims Russia denies.
Russia’s rocket explosion last week could have serious implications in the race to develop a longer-range missile.
Local authorities have advised residents of the nearby village of Nyonoksa to evacuate during clean-up work in the area.
About 450 people reportedly live in the village, which is next to a military testing range and where radiation levels spiked following the accident.