US diplomats barred from visiting Russia’s Severodvinsk

The US embassy in Moscow has confirmed that three US diplomats were withdrawn from the train going to Severodvinsk (Archangelsk region).

The diplomats were on an official business trip, and the Russian Defense Ministry was informed of it, spokeswoman Rebecca Ross stressed.

On October 16, a number of media outlets reported about Monday’s removing the diplomats from the train over allegedly violating the rules of stay in the territory of Russia. According to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there were two military attaches among them. The Americans were not allowed to board the train to Severodvinsk, AFP reported.

After checking the documents, the diplomats were released. Foreign nationals are restricted from entering Severodvinsk, they have to obtain special permission, news agency Interfax said.

It should be recalled that the explosion at a secret military facility in the village of Nyonoksa, 40 km from Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, occurred on August 8.

After the incident, the press service of the Severodvinsk administration announced a ‘short-term increase’ in the background radiation. Due to the increase in the radiation background in Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, local residents bought all the iodine they could.

Later it became known that the explosion killed five employees of the state corporation Rosatom. Three others received injuries and burns of various degrees of severity. The corporation noted that the incident occurred ‘during the testing of the liquid propulsion system’ during the period ‘related to the engineering and technical support of isotope power supplies on the liquid propulsion system’.

Experts questioned the official take on the situation. They noted that the explosion of the liquid propulsion system could not result in radiation exposure. According to them, the explosion and subsequent radiation release were the result of an accident that took place during the testing of a cruise missile with a nuclear part. This is probably a 9M730 Thunderbird missile (NATO designates it as the SSC-X-9 Skyfall). However, the Russian Defense Ministry denied this version.

In late August, TV station CNBC reported with reference to a U.S. intelligence report tthat the explosion off Russia’s northern coast occurred during a recovery mission to salvage the Kremlin’s nuclear-powered missile from the ocean floor.

Aftershock of blast: Background radioactivity pressure in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk

See also