Russia said it’s far ahead of the US in developing new nuclear-powered missiles despite a failed test that prompted President Donald Trump to boast of American superiority in the field.
President Vladimir Putin “has repeatedly said that Russian developments in this area surpass the level achieved by other countries, and are quite unique,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday on a conference call, in response to a question on Trump’s tweet. US officials have said repeatedly in the past year that its military is working on such programmes, so Trump’s statement offers no new information, he said.
An August 8 blast in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region killed five atomic scientists during the test of a missile engine that used “isotope power sources” on an offshore platform in the White Sea. Trump later tweeted that the US “is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia” and added that “we have similar, though more advanced, technology,” without giving more details.
Trump’s comment appeared to confirm speculation in Russian media that the weapon being tested was the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, known in Russia as the Burevestnik.
Putin introduced the nuclear-powered cruise missile to the world in a brief animated segment during his state-of-the-nation address last year.
Radiation levels in the port city of Severodvinsk, near the site of the failed test, reached as high as 16 times normal immediately following the incident, according to the state meteorological service.
Gamma radiation measured at six of eight testing stations in the city of 180,000 ranged from 4 to 16 times the normal rate of 0.11 microsieverts per hour, with one observation point showing 1.78 microsieverts per hour, Roshydromet said in a statement.
The World Nuclear Association estimates the hourly dose from flying at 30,000 feet in North America is 3 to 4 microsieverts.
‘Moscow protests not a sign Russia’s in crisis’
The Kremlin said protests in Moscow that drew as many as 60,000 people don’t represent a political crisis for the country. “We don’t agree with those that are labeling this a political crisis,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“We cannot and should not be guided by emotions. The use of phases like
‘unlawful use of force,’ ‘unlawful exclusion from elections,’ ‘unlawful arrests’ and what-not should be used only after an internal review or court ruling.”
The recent rally was the best attended opposition demonstration since 2011, according to an independent monitoring organisation White Counter. The protests, which began last month over the refusal to put opposition candidates on the ballot for Moscow city council elections in September, have gained popularity after a violent police crackdown on protesters.