One of Vladimir Putin's close allies has said Russia is set to test nuclear weapons in the Arctic Ocean to 'scare the West' after increased 'aggression' towards the Kremlin.
Mikhail Kovalchuk, the president of the country's main nuclear research centre, the Kurchatov Institute, proposed testing the weapons in Novaya Zemlya, an Arctic Ocean archipelago, "at least once" to rattle the West, Newsweek reported.
And new satellite imagery obtained by the California-based Middlebury Institute for International Studies appears to show that Russia is gearing up to do just that from the site, as two new buildings have popped up there and maratime activity around it has increased. Additionally, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also paid the facility a visit in August.
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Kovalchuk said Western actions toward Russia are becoming "increasingly aggressive," and that many experts propose "adjusting the fundamentals of state policy in this area."
He added that "the Americans immediately began to negotiate, instantly" after a similar situation in 1961 when the Soviet Union tested the largest nuclear weapon ever, the 50MT AN602 Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb.
"The situation is exactly the same now. It's enough to carry out tests on Novaya Zemlya… At least once. And everything will fall into place," Kovalchuk added.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, said on Friday (September 29) that he and his brother, the head of Rossiya Bank, Yury Kovalchuk, are "both members of the Russian president's inner circle."
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Russia is set to hold large scale nuclear drills on October 3 because of the "growing danger of armed conflicts including [with] nuclear-capable powers near Russia's borders," Russian-linked Telegram pages have reported.
The drills will imagine that the country is at least partially under martial law and that up to 70 percent of the country's housing facilities have been destroyed, Newsweek reported.
The Baza Telegram channel, which is linked to Russia's security services, reported that the scenario will also imagine that general mobilization has ended; and that there is the possibility of radioactive contamination.
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