'Accidents happen' says the Kremlin: Moscow denies the explosion of a nuclear-powered missile was a setback and declares it is 'far ahead' in developing new weaponry

  • Dmitry Peskov said: 'Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies'
  • Five employees of Kremlin's nuclear agency died in the missile engine explosion
  • Officials had previously claimed that no dangerous substances were released
  • This despite the nearby city of Severodvinsk seeing a 16-fold spike in radiation
  • Evacuation of village of Nyonoksa was ordered today after last Thursday's blast 

The Kremlin has said 'accidents happen' after a mysterious rocket explosion caused huge spikes in radiation levels and killed five people last week.

Russia also boasted it was winning the race to develop new cutting edge nuclear weapons, saying it was 'far ahead of the level other countries'.

Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear agency, said the August 8 accident came during a rocket test on a platform in the White Sea, killing at least five and injuring three more.

A view shows an entrance checkpoint of a military garrison located near the village of Nyonoksa in the far north Arkhangelsk Region of Russia. The Kremlin has said 'accidents happen' after a mysterious rocket explosion caused huge spikes in radiation levels and killed five people last week at the site

A view shows an entrance checkpoint of a military garrison located near the village of Nyonoksa in the far north Arkhangelsk Region of Russia. The Kremlin has said 'accidents happen' after a mysterious rocket explosion caused huge spikes in radiation levels and killed five people last week at the site

It has pledged to keep developing new weapons regardless, portraying the men who died in the test as heroes.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: 'Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies. But in this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident.'

He added: '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 (pictured) said: 'Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies. But in this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (pictured) said: 'Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies. But in this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident'

A mysterious Russian military explosion that left five Russian scientists dead last week happened during tests on a new nuclear-powered rocket. Officials were seen wearing protective clothing as they transported casualties last week (pictured). The Kremlin responded today saying 'accidents happen'

A mysterious Russian military explosion that left five Russian scientists dead last week happened during tests on a new nuclear-powered rocket. Officials were seen wearing protective clothing as they transported casualties last week (pictured). The Kremlin responded today saying 'accidents happen'

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter yesterday his country was 'learning much' from the explosion which he suggested happened during the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile praised by President Vladimir Putin last year.

Russia, which has said the missile will have an 'unlimited range' and be able to overcome any defences, calls the missile the 9M730 Burevestnik (Storm Petrel).

Nato has dubbed it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.

Trump said on Twitter the US had 'similar, though more advanced, technology' and said Russians were worried about the air quality around the facility and far beyond, a situation he described as 'not good!'

Russia, which has said the missile will have an 'unlimited range' and be able to overcome any defences, calls the missile the 9M730 Burevestnik (Storm Petrel) (pictured)

Russia, which has said the missile will have an 'unlimited range' and be able to overcome any defences, calls the missile the 9M730 Burevestnik (Storm Petrel) (pictured)

In February the Russian state news agency released a video claiming to show a test of the Burevetnik missile which the Kremlin says is designed to strike over 'unlimited' range and with with unprecedented ability to manoeuvre

In February the Russian state news agency released a video claiming to show a test of the Burevetnik missile which the Kremlin says is designed to strike over 'unlimited' range and with with unprecedented ability to manoeuvre

But when asked about his comments on Tuesday, the Kremlin said it, not the US, was out in front when it came to developing new nuclear weapons.

Peskov, echoing President Putin, said Russian weaponry developments were still 'considerably far ahead of the level other countries have managed to achieve'.

Putin used his state-of-the nation speech in 2018 to unveil what he described as a raft of invincible new nuclear weapons, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, an underwater nuclear-powered drone and a laser weapon.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington over arms control have been exacerbated by the demise of a landmark nuclear treaty this month.

Russia said it is also concerned another landmark arms control treaty will soon expire.

In a sign of how serious the situation in the accident area remains, Russian news agencies cited authorities as advising residents of Nyonoksa to briefly leave while clear-up work was being carried out.

The Nyonoska testing site, pictured above, is reportedly the location of trials for Putin's new Zircon missile. In a sign of how serious the situation in the accident area remains, Russian news agencies cited authorities as advising residents of Nyonoksa to briefly leave while clear-up work was being carried out

The Nyonoska testing site, pictured above, is reportedly the location of trials for Putin's new Zircon missile. In a sign of how serious the situation in the accident area remains, Russian news agencies cited authorities as advising residents of Nyonoksa to briefly leave while clear-up work was being carried out

Experts were working on 'a nuclear isotope power source' for the weapon when the blast occurred at the Nyonoksa facility in north western Russia, officials say. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: 'In this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident'

 Experts were working on 'a nuclear isotope power source' for the weapon when the blast occurred at the Nyonoksa facility in north western Russia, officials say. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: 'In this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident'

That recommendation was later rescinded, the same news agencies reported.

Russia's state weather service also revealed today radiation levels in the nearby city of Severodvinsk had spiked by up to 16 times last Thursday.

Peskov said: 'I have nothing to add beyond what I stated. ... I can just assure you that in such a situation all the competent agencies do everything to assure the safety of the citizens of the Russian Federation is fully provided.'

Experts were working on 'a nuclear isotope power source' for the weapon when the blast occurred at the Nyonoksa facility in north western Russia.

Moscow has since admitted there were two - not one as previously disclosed - spikes in background radiation near the city of Severodvinsk as a result of the accident.

A pre-dawn train is set to evacuate all 500 residents of the nearby village of Nyonksa on Wednesday, ahead of what the authorities claimed were pre-planned activities by the military.

A pre-dawn train will evacuate all 500 villagers of Nyonksa on Wednesday, ahead of what the authorities claim were pre-planned activities by the military

A pre-dawn train will evacuate all 500 villagers of Nyonksa on Wednesday, ahead of what the authorities claim were pre-planned activities by the military

Today it was also revealed, ten medics who provided treatment to the wounded last week had been dispatched to Moscow for urgent medical checks.

The front-line doctors were reported to be 'depressed as to why they were not told what they were dealing with' in the aftermath of the weapons test.

Yesterday, thousands of people attended the burials of five Russian nuclear engineers killed by the explosion.

The five victims of the Russian military ‘radiation explosion’ were buried yesterday in a sombre mourning ceremony in ‘closed’ nuclear research town Sarov

The five victims of the Russian military 'radiation explosion' were buried yesterday in a sombre mourning ceremony in 'closed' nuclear research town Sarov 

The “national heroes” were given a military salute of gunfire over their heavy coffins at a local cemetery

The 'national heroes' were given a military salute of gunfire over their heavy coffins at a local cemetery

A cortège of black vehicles brought the five coffins to the mourning ceremony which was held at the institute and later the cemetery

A cortège of black vehicles brought the five coffins to the mourning ceremony which was held at the institute and later the cemetery

The engineers were laid to rest in the city of Sarov that hosts Russia's main nuclear weapons research centre.

Head of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev was quoted as saying: 'The best (thing) for their memory will be our further work on the new weapons.

'We are fulfilling the task of the motherland, its security will be reliably ensured.'

The Defence Ministry initially said the explosion at the navy's testing range killed two people and injured a further six.

But the state-controlled Rosatom nuclear concern acknowledged later the blast killed five of its workers and injured three others.

Two of the men were blown into the sea at the top secret weapons testing zone in the White Sea.

Their bodies were initially lost but later found and funerals for all those killed were due to be held in top secret closed nuclear research town Sarov from where foreigners are banned.

According to one version, the troubling missile accident came as the scientists were working on the nuclear engine of deadly Burevestnik cruise missile with 'unlimited range' nicknamed the 'Flying Chernobyl' when it exploded.

One of the dead was Evgeny Korotaev, 50, a leading electronics engineer and also a popular DJ, whose second wife had given birth to twin girls just seven months ago.

One of the dead was Evgeny Korotaev, 50, a leading electronics engineer and also a popular DJ, whose second wife had given birth to twin girls just seven months ago.

One of the dead was Evgeny Korotaev, 50, a leading electronics engineer and also a popular DJ, whose second wife had given birth to twin girls just seven months ago.

Korotaev's daughter from the first marriage, Oksana, 26, posted a childhood picture of her with her father and the caption: 'Daddy, I love you so much.'

Korotaev's daughter from the first marriage, Oksana, 26, posted a childhood picture of her with her father and the caption: 'Daddy, I love you so much.'

Like the other dead, he worked for the classified Institute of Experimental Physics based in Sarov, 235 miles east of Moscow, known as Arzamas-16 in Soviet times.

His daughter from the first marriage, Oksana, 26, posted a childhood picture of her with her father and the caption: 'Daddy, I love you so much.'

She only recently gave birth to his grandchild.

Oksana Korataeva (pictured) is the eldest daughter of Evgney Korataev, who died in the blast

Oksana Korataeva (pictured) is the eldest daughter of Evgney Korataev, who died in the blast

Another killed was Vyasheslav Yanovsky, 71, one of Russia's most senior nuclear scientists, deputy head of research and testing at the institute.

He was an 'honoured worker' of Moscow's nuclear industry, and died alongside Vyacheslav Lipshev, 40, head of the institute's research and development team.

Software and hardware specialist Alexey Vyushin, 43, who had developed a high-energy photon spectrometer was also killed
Another killed was Vyasheslav Yanovsky, 71, one of Russia's most senior nuclear scientists, deputy head of research and testing at the institute

Software and hardware specialist Alexey Vyushin (left), 43, and Vyasheslav Yanovsky (right), 71, were both killed

Vyacheslav Lipshev, 40, was one of the experts killed in the blast. His widow Natalia Alexeeva (pictured together), 40, posted a tribute: 'I love you my dear, how will I live without you? You are my everything.'

Vyacheslav Lipshev, 40, was one of the experts killed in the blast. His widow Natalia Alexeeva (pictured together), 40, posted a tribute: 'I love you my dear, how will I live without you? You are my everything.'

Lipishev's widow Natalia Alexeeva, 40, posted a tribute: 'I love you my dear, how will I live without you? You are my everything.'

Software and hardware specialist Alexey Vyushin, 43, who had developed a high-energy photon spectrometer, and Sergey Pichugin, 45, a testing engineer, were also killed.

All are expected to be honoured posthumously by Vladimir Putin.

Sergey Pichugin, 45, a testing engineer, was also killed. He is pictured with wife ElenaKoro

Sergey Pichugin, 45, a testing engineer, was also killed. He is pictured with wife ElenaKoro

Valentin Kostyukov, director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, belatedly acknowledged the disaster, but called the lost men 'national heroes'.

Alexander Chernyshov, deputy scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, admitted there had been two surges of radiation in the aftermath of the accident.

Alexander Chernyshov, deputy scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, admitted there had been two surges of radiation in the aftermath of the accident

Alexander Chernyshov, deputy scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, admitted there had been two surges of radiation in the aftermath of the accident

'Our people established by direct measurement that there really was - twice - an increase in background radiation,' he said.

'It lasted no longer than an hour. No residual radioactive pollution was found by our experts.'

Nuclear centre deputy head Vyacheslav Solovyev admitted the scientists were killed by an explosion in a small nuclear reactor, part of the engine of the missile.

Nuclear centre deputy head Vyacheslav Solovyev admitted the scientists were killed by an explosion in a small nuclear reactor, part of the engine of the missile

Nuclear centre deputy head Vyacheslav Solovyev admitted the scientists were killed by an explosion in a small nuclear reactor, part of the engine of the missile

This 'energy source' contained radioactive fissile materials, and he insisted the US was engaged in similar military developments.

'We are now trying to figure out (what went wrong), working closely with the state commission, analysing the entire chain of events in order to assess the scale of the accident,' he said.

The aim was to 'understand its causes to exclude the possibility of such accidents in future.'

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Moscow denies explosion of nuclear-powered missile was a setback says it is 'far ahead' in weaponry

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