Russia told residents living near the site of last week's failed missile test to evacuate but then mysteriously canceled the order

Ryan Pickrell
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 28, 2019. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS


  • Russia told the residents of Nyonoksa, a town near the military test site where a failed weapons test last week resulted in a deadly explosion, to evacuate Tuesday, but then the order was mysteriously canceled.
  • The weapon tested last week is believed to have been the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a kind of doomsday missile that NATO refers to as SSC-X-9 Skyfall.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has bragged about the missile's capabilities, despite the fact that it doesn't actually work.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Russia ordered the evacuation of residents living near the military testing range where a suspected test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile ended in a deadly explosion last week but then mysteriously canceled the order, the Associated Press reports, citing Russian media.

Residents of Nyonoksa were initially instructed to relocate due to unspecified military activities. The residents were, CNN reports, to be evacuated by train.

Five Russian nuclear scientists were buried Monday after they were killed in an explosion last week that also temporarily resulted in a spike in radiation levels nearby. Western intelligence officials and experts believe that they were working on the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a kind of doomsday missile that NATO refers to as SSC-X-9 Skyfall.

Read more: The blast that killed 5 Russian engineers was apparently caused by another failed test of Putin's doomsday missile

Tweeting Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump referred to what he called the "failed missile explosion in Russia" as the "'Skyfall' explosion," confirming that the US believes that this was the state-of-the-art missile that  Russian President Vladimir Putin has boasted about — despite the fact that it doesn't work.

Russia has declined to say whether or not the failed test last week involved the Burevestnik.

Putin bragged in March 2018 that the then-unnamed missile was "invincible," proudly asserting that the weapon has "an unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception." So far, the weapon has posed a greater threat to the Russian people than any potential adversary.

Alexei Likhachev, the head of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Russia's state nuclear agency, said Monday that the best way to honor the memory of the those who died is "further work on the new weapons." It is currently unclear if the evacuation ordered Tuesday was related to plans for additional testing.

Commenting on last week's explosion, the Kremlin said Tuesday that "accidents, unfortunately, happen."

The Russian military regularly suffers serious accidents. Just last week, there was the failed missile tests, and then an ammunition depot at another base exploded twice.

Jeffrey Edmonds, a former CIA analyst and member of the National Security Council, recently told INSIDER that the problem appears to be that Russia often combines a willingness to take risks with an outdated military infrastructure that simply can't support that culture, creating an environment where accidents are more likely.

Read more: Here's why the Russian military has so many serious accidents

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