Fears are growing of a possible Chernobyl-style cover-up in Russia since it was discovered that two research stations that monitor radiation levels went offline for two days after the suspected nuclear explosion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The suspicious timing has prompted concerns that President Vladimir Putin is trying to hide evidence of a nuclear explosion.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, eyebrows were first raised after an explosion at the Nyonoksa weapons site in the sub-Arctic Arkhangelsk area of the country killed several people and necessitated paramedics and ambulances arrive in hazmat gear.
Though the Russian government said that the explosion was caused by a rocket explosion gone wrong, radiation levels in the nearby town of Severodvinsk were reported to read nearly 20 times the normal level shortly after the incident. In addition, residents of the town were urged to buy iodine and stay indoors.
The news that the two radiation level stations went dark around the explosion has only stoked fears about a serious nuclear event.
According to Lassina Zerbo, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, the two stations, named Dubna and Kirov after their respective locations, were immediately contacted after news of the detonation hit the internet. However, Russian officials replied that they were suffering "communication & network issues."
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty forbids nuclear weapons tests. However, the treaty has yet to formally come into effect since it has not received the required number of signatures. Many countries have claimed that they nonetheless are in compliance with its protocols -- Russia included.
Should the August 8 explosion be proven to be a nuclear test, this would go against the treaty. A large part of the accord is sharing information from various monitoring stations, of which Dubna and Kirov are included. The two stations measure radioactive particles in the atmosphere.
"It is a very odd coincidence that these stations stopped sending data shortly after the Aug. 8 incident," said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. The Arms Control Association is a nongovernmental organization promoting arms-control policies.
"It is probably because they want to obscure the technical details of the missile-propulsion system they are trying and failing to develop," Mr. Kimball said. "But this is not a legitimate reason to cut off test-ban monitoring data transmissions."
As the controversy continued to grow, even President Donald Trump waded into the matter. On Twitter, the president claimed that the explosion was due to a malfunction with an advanced nuclear-powered cruise missile. The missile, which the Russians call Burevestnik, has been dubbed Skyfall by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.