The Kremlin said Tuesday that Russia is beating the U.S. in the race to develop new nuclear weapons just days after a rocket explosion in the North of the country that released radiation into the air and resulted in the evacuation of a village.
“Our president has repeatedly said that Russian engineering in this sector significantly outstrips the level that other countries have managed to reach for the moment, and it is fairly unique,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Last Thursday, an accidental explosion from a rocket test offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site killed at least five people and injured three others, according to state nuclear agency Rosatom.
“The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia,” President Trump wrote Monday on Twitter. “We have similar, though more advanced, technology.”
Trump implied that the explosion involved a missile the NATO alliance has designated the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, a long-distance cruise missile propelled by a small nuclear reactor, and said the disaster has caused concern about the air surrounding the facility.
Tensions have been high between the two powers since the U.S. officially withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty earlier this month, citing breaches of the agreement by Russia.
Earlier in the summer, NATO demanded Moscow destroy a new nuclear-capable cruise-missile system that the U.S. claims to be in violation of the treaty, which bans both countries from possessing land-based nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with a range between 310 and 3,410 miles.
Russian president Vladimir Putin warned during his State of the Nation speech in February that while Russia does not seek aggression, the country’s nuclear weapons would be pointed toward the U.S. if the White House deployed missiles in Europe.