The radiation spike that followed the apparent explosion of a nuclear-powered missile engine in Russia — an event that left seven dead and has been cloaked in secrecy — was higher than previously indicated by the country’s officials, Russian government weatheragency on Tuesday said.
The news comes amid conflicting reports that authorities were preparing to evacuate a village close to the Arctic test site where the blast occurred and that doctors who had treated engineers injured in the blast had signed non-disclosure agreements.
Russia’s nuclear agency said Saturday that five of its employees were killed earlier this week when a rocket engine exploded during a missile test at a military base in the far northern Arkhangelsk region.
Russia’s Defense Ministry initially said that said two people died in Thursday’s explosion and four were injured, including servicemen and civilian engineers. It was not immediately clear if the five fatalities cited in a Saturday statement by Rosatom were all in addition to the previously reported deaths.
In addition to the five deaths, Rosatom said three of its employees were treated for burns. The test took place on a sea platform during a period of work related to the engineering and technical support of “isotopic power sources” in a “liquid propulsion system,” the agency said.
Up to 60,000 people reportedly gathered in the rain to demand fair elections.
The protest was officially authorised but dozens of people were arrested as they moved to other parts of the city, many outside President Vladimir Putin’s offices in the city centre.
Unauthorised rallies on the last two Saturdays saw hundreds detained. This is the fifth demonstration in a month.
Many Muscovites are unhappy that opposition candidates have been banned from running in municipal elections in September, but anger has increased after apparent incidences of police brutality in previous weeks.
More than 50,000 are thought to have attended the latest in a series of rallies for fair elections.
Footage has emerged showing the 20-minute maiden flight of the unmanned craft, whose special coating is said to make it almost undetectable.
As well as combat missions, it is thought to be intended for use in aerial spying.
Once in service with the Russian Air Force, the drone will purportedly be capable of being controlled in the sky from a manned warplane, from ground control, or using its own “brain”.
The move to scrap the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty comes amid the administration’s assessment that Russia was in “material breach of the treaty” and made no effort to “come back into compliance” with the agreement, a senior White House official said.
Russian police arrested more than 600 people, including prominent activists, around a political protest in Moscow to demand that members of the opposition be allowed to run in a local election later this year. The protest, which authorities declared illegal beforehand, did not represent a major challenge to President Vladimir Putin and his allies who have the resources to break up such demonstrations and jail people. Chants of ‘Russia without Putin’ and ‘Putin resign’ echoed through central Moscow as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people. Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny had called for the protest, near the Moscow mayor’s office, to persuade authorities to allow opposition-minded candidates to run in a Sept. 8 vote in Moscow, which they have been barred from.
Mueller is expected to testify on Capitol Hill for hours about his investigation into Russian interference, possible coordination by members of President Donald Trump’s campaign, and possible obstruction of justice by Trump himself.
- Special counsel Robert Mueller began his testimony before a House panel with an opening statement that called Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election that sent President Donald Trump to the White House among the “most serious” challenges to American democracy.
- Mueller is expected to testify on Capitol Hill for hours about his investigation into Russian interference, possible coordination by members of Trump’s campaign, and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
- “Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious,” Mueller said.
At least 14 sailors died Monday after a Russian navy deep-sea submersible caught fire under water during a research mission, officials said.
The vessel caught fire unexpectedly while the submersible was measuring sea depths in Russia’s territorial waters, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The fire was put out thanks to the self-sacrifice of crew members although officials did not say how many sailors were aboard the vessel at the time of the blaze or how many, if any, survived.
Charlie Rose recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss what the Russian leader thinks of America and how the world views him.
Here’s a preview of this Sunday’s “60 Minutes” report:
Charlie Rose: You’re much talked about in America. There’s much conversation, more so than any.
Vladimir Putin: Maybe they have nothing else to do in America but talk about me. [laughs]
Rose: No, no, no, or maybe they’re curious people? [laughs] Or maybe you’re an interesting character? Maybe that’s what it is. As you know, some have called you a czar.
Putin: So what? You know people call me different names.
Rose: But does the name fit?
Putin: No, it does not fit me. It’s not important how I’m called, whether these are well-wishers, friends or political opponents. It’s important what you think about you, what you must do for the interest of the country which has entrusted you with the position as the head of the Russian state.
Rose: Are you curious about America? More than simply another nation that you have to deal with?
Putin: Of course we’re curious about what’s going on. America exerts enormous influence on the situation in the world as a whole.
Rose: What do you admire most about America?
Putin: I like the creativity.
Putin: Creativity when it comes to your tackling problems. Their openness — openness and open-mindedness — because it allows them to unleash the inner potential of their people. And thanks to that, America has attained such amazing results in developing their country.
Watch the full “60 Minutes” interview this Sunday, Sept. 27 at7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
- Moscow has 2 million Muslims and just four mosques
- Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a ceremonial opening of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque
- He spoke of Moscow being a multireligious city and railed against ISIS
Moscow (CNN)After more than decade under construction, the doors of the newly built Moscow Cathedral Mosque have finally opened in the European city with the largest Muslim population.
It’s hoped the mosque, which can accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers, will help alleviate the acute shortage of space for Muslim prayer in the Russian capital.
“Today, we have only four mosques for 2 million Muslims in Moscow. This is not enough,” Rushan Abbyasov of the Russian Council of Muftis told CNN.
“However, according to our agreement with the Moscow government, we will start considering new projects. God willing, another massive mosque will appear,” he said.
But that may prove unpopular among many non-Muslim Muscovites, many of whom disapprove of the city’s growing Muslim population.
A recent opinion poll, published by the Levada Center, an independent agency, found that 51% of Muscovites, who are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, are against further mosque construction. Only 4% said they support mosque building.
But the Kremlin, usually sensitive to popular sentiments of this kind, appears to be paying little attention to the concerns.
The ceremonial opening of the Cathedral Mosque, near the city center, was overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Foreign dignitaries also attended, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
With his speech broadcast live on state television, Putin said that the mosque was “worthy” of a multireligious Russian capital and that he hoped it would become a center of spirituality and education in Russia.
Putin, who is stepping up military backing of the Syrian government, also used the mosque opening to push his anti-ISIS message.
“We see what’s happening in the Middle East, where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State are discrediting the great world religion of Islam, planting hatred, killing people, destroying world cultural monuments in a barbaric way,” he told the hundreds of invited guests.
“Their ideology is based on a lie, on a distortion of Islam.”
For Putin, this was clearly more than just a big mosque opening its doors to a grateful Muslim public.
This was another platform from which to bolster his credentials as a staunch opponent of Islamic extremist groups, like ISIS.
And perhaps to prepare the Russian public for even greater involvement in Syria’s brutal civil war.
Vladimir Putin has reportedly added drones, attack helicopters and aircraft to its force in Syria in recent weeks
Russia rapidly increased its aerial attack capabilities in Syria over the weekend, U.S. officials told Agence France-Presse on Monday, including 28 combat planes that have been sighted at a new Russian air base in the Syrian province of Latakia.
The fleet includes 12 SU-24 attack aircraft, 12 SU-25 ground attack aircraft and four Flanker fighter jets, the officials told the news agency on condition of anonymity. An influx of new weaponry was also reported separately by the New York Times and CNN.
One of the officials told AFP of the additional presence of around 20 combat helicopters and said Russian forces are flying surveillance drones over the Middle Eastern nation’s airspace.
According to the Times, Russia’s military presence in Syria also includes at least three surface-to-air missiles, nine tanks and around 500 marines.
“The equipment and personnel just keep flowing in,” another official told the Times. “They were very busy over the weekend.”
Reports of the new aircraft emerged soon after U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday. They discussed concerns that the two forces might inadvertently clash with each other as a U.S.-led coalition continues its air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militant group.
The U.S. and other Western powers fundamentally differ with Moscow on the role of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, believing he must step down in order for his country to emerge from civil war. Russia, on the other hand, is one of the Assad regime’s most prominent allies and has defended its military assistance to the Syrian army.
U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing on Monday that he was “not in a position to independently verify” the reports of Russian aircraft and drones.
“If Russia looks to play a constructive role against [ISIS], that’s one thing, but if what they’re doing is, in fact, propping up the Assad regime, then that’s an entirely different issue altogether,” Kirby added, “because it is the Assad regime that has been a magnet for extremists inside Syria.”
CreditPool photo by Evan Vucci
LONDON — Russia’s military buildup in Syria now includes surface-to-air missiles as well as combat aircraft with air-to-air capability, deployments that raise “serious questions” about Moscow’s role in the region, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.
Russian officials have said that the purpose of the buildup at a base near Latakia, Syria, is to combat the Islamic State.
But the deployment of air defense systems and fighter aircraft — weapons that can be used against a conventionally armed foe but that have little utility against extremist fighters — has spurred concerns that Moscow’s goal is also to establish a military outpost in the Middle East.
It has also added to the Pentagon’s worries about the risk of an inadvertent confrontation between Russia’s military and the American-led coalition that is carrying out airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State.
“Clearly the presence of aircraft with air-to-air combat capacity” as well as “surface-to-air missiles raise serious questions, which is precisely why Secretary Carter talked with the Minister of Defense of Russia Shoigu yesterday,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu.
At the White House’s direction, Mr. Carter began a dialogue Friday with Mr. Shoigu aimed at ensuring that American and Russian aircraft avoid unintended incidents as they operate over Syria.
While Mr. Kerry did not provide details, an American official, who requested anonymity because he was discussing intelligence reports, said that a Russian SA-22 air defense system was already in place at Latakia. The United States had observed elements of the system at the base in the last week, but now the launcher and the missiles it fires are there, too, the official said.
The American official added that the four Su-27 aircraft Russia had flown to the air base were armed with air-to-air missiles.
“What’s the air-to-air threat there for them?” asked the official, who called the development “troubling.”
Other American officials suggested, however, that the deployment might simply reflect the Russian military’s standard defensive precautions as it established an air hub in a foreign country.
The prefabricated building Russia has erected at the base now has the capacity to house 2,000 military advisers and personnel. Ferrying weapons and equipment to the base has involved well over 20 flights by Russian Condor transport planes — almost all of which have flown to Syria by passing over Iran and Iraq.
Syria, and the migrant crisis it has spawned, has been a major focus of Mr. Kerry’s trip to Europe. After a meeting Saturday morning with Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, Mr. Kerry said that it was vital to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis but that Moscow was not putting enough pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to make him negotiate seriously.
“We need to get to the negotiation,” Mr. Kerry said at a joint news conference with Mr. Hammond. “That’s what we’re looking for, and we hope Russia and Iran, other countries with influence, will help to bring that about, because that’s what’s preventing this crisis from ending.”