Daily Mail is reporting that Vladimir Putin might be covering up a nuclear disaster after ambulances were seen in protective film generally reserved for nuclear accidents on Thursday. The vehicles were called to a mysterious explosion at the Nyonoksa weapons testing site in the sub-Arctic Arkhangelsk area. The paramedics treated six victims who all were allegedly suffering from radiation poisoning.
The explosion killed two in addition to injuring the aforementioned six. President Vladimir Putin has not made any comment on the incident. In a suspicious turn of events, the clothes belonging to both the victims and the medics who first treated them were reportedly destroyed. The base has also since been put on lockdown.
In addition, leaked video footage reportedly also shows men in protective clothing loading casualties into the vehicles after the explosion.
Though the Kremlin has said nothing of the event other than that it was a rocket explosion gone wrong, citizens of Severodvinsk, a city only 18 miles away from the explosion, went into panic mode as radiation levels were reported to have dramatically increased by around 20 times the normal level. The hysteria has caused a rush on pharmacies, where the public is purchasing iodine and has been urged to stay indoors.Russian expert Dr. Mark Galeotti said the incident was incredibly suspicious, despite protests from Moscow, per The Express.
"This depot seems to have been used for the testing of one of Russia's new liquid-propelled nuclear missiles - it is a highly secretive," he added.
"The official response from the Defense Ministry has been 'nothing to see here, no spike in radiation, no leak in radiation.'""Despite what the Kremlin have said, there must have been some sort of radiation leak - and they want people to not just stay out of harm's way, but also don't want people coming to the site with Geiger Counters," he added.
"The Defense Ministry is trying to play this down. It is clearly a bigger issue than they are letting on."Dr. Galeotti concluded by saying that the Russian authorities have a "tendency to lie in a crisis situation," but was hopeful that with technology in today's age, they would not be able to hide serious disasters.
The explosion comes less than a week after Vladimir Putin called for arms control talks after the demise of a nuclear pact between the United States and Russia. The pact was the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was passed in 1987. The United States decided not to renew the accord after it claimed that Russia had violated the term's agreements. The Kremlin, however, has denied the allegations.