×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Coronavirus Seals Off City Near Secret Russian Nuclear Accident Site

Entry to Severodvinsk will be restricted after the city's coronavirus outbreak intensified. Sophia Sandurskaya / Moskva News Agency

Authorities have blocked access to a city in far northern Russia located near the site of last year’s mysterious nuclear testing accident as the coronavirus outbreak there intensified.

The governor of the Arkhangelsk region signed an order to close public access to the city of Severodvinsk this Saturday, the city’s press service said Thursday. Severodvinsk is near the Nyonoksa testing site where an August 2019 explosion during a rocket engine test killed five Russian nuclear workers and led to a radiation spike.

Severodvinsk will set up checkpoints Friday and restrict entry and exit starting midnight Saturday to everyone except workers and people attending funerals, going to country houses or transiting through the city.

“The measure remains in effect until special orders,” the city’s press service said in a statement.

Around 700 people have been infected with Covid-19 at two of the city’s major shipyards since April, an unnamed shipbuilding industry source told the Vedomosti business daily. The Sevmash and Zvezdochka shipyards reportedly saw more than 200 new cases in the past week alone.

The outbreak has prompted federal health officials last week to order enterprises in Severodvinsk to limit their activities.

The Arkhangelsk region has confirmed 2,496 coronavirus infections since the start of the outbreak. Severodvinsk accounts for roughly half of the region’s overall cases.

Last August, a missile exploded during what is believed to have been a recovery operation. The secrecy surrounding the accident has led outside observers to speculate that the explosion involved the Burevestnik nuclear-powered intercontinental cruise missile, dubbed the SSC-X-9 Skyfall by NATO. 

President Vladimir Putin later said the accident occurred during testing of what he called promising new weapons systems.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more