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Buildings at a military base in the small town of Nyonoska Buildings at a military base in the small town of Nyonoska  (AFP or licensors)

Russia refuses to share data about deadly nuclear explosion

Russia says it is not obligated to share data about an explosion with a suspected nuclear-powered cruise missile that killed at least five nuclear engineers and caused a brief spike in radiation. The announcement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed there was no threat from the accident.

By Stefan J. Bos

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says it is Russia's choice, not an obligation, to share data with other nations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

He also condemned the United States for testing on Sunday a cruise missile off the coast of California. That rocket was previously banned by another nuclear treaty from which both nations recently withdrew. 

The Russian diplomat's remarks did not directly address reports that information on radiation levels following this month's rocket accident was not shared with the world.

That mysterious accident that killed and injured several people on the White Sea in northwestern Russia and changing or contradictory information from Moscow has led to global concerns about what happened and what type of weapon was involved.

Critics had raised comparisons to the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant when Moscow was also reluctant to share information.

No Threat

But Russian President Vladimir Putin claims there is no threat from the deadly explosion at the secretive naval weapons testing range.

Heard through an interpreter, he tried to play down fears about radiation leaks. "I am getting from civilian and military experts, and we do not see any changes [in radioation]. But we are taking preventive measures so that there are no surprises," he told media.

"Unfortunately there have been casualties, and there were people who were injured. And they will receive awards; they were doing a very important job," Putin added.

The Russian leader spoke in France where he and French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to give a new boost to peace talks with 
Ukraine and to improve Moscow's relations with the European Union.

However, they disagreed on other issues, such as Syria and the Russian crackdown on opposition protests.

20 August 2019, 17:08