Mystery over 'missing' Russian nuclear tests

Mystery of Russia’s ‘missing’ nuclear tests: No sign of long-awaited drills amid claims Putin’s atomic plans are being ‘disrupted’ from within with top brass ‘sabotaging plans to use nuclear weapons’

  • Russia was expected to carry out long-awaited ‘Grom’ nuclear drills this week 
  • Air alerts were put out over swathes of Arctic suggesting long-range missiles and potentially nuclear bombs were going to be tested 
  • But so far there is no sign of drills taking place and alert areas have been silent 
  • Russian professor has claimed Putin’s tests are being ‘disrupted’ from within

Mystery surrounds Russian nuclear tests that were expected to take this week and never materialised, amid claims they are being ‘disrupted’ from within.

Moscow typically carries out large-scale atomic drills dubbed ‘Grom’ at this time of year and in recent days had issued a number of airspace alerts over its usual testing grounds – heavily suggesting they would be going ahead.

But the US says it has received no alert from Moscow about any upcoming tests and there has been no official word from the Kremlin explaining their absence, with the air alerts due to expire Saturday.

That has led one prominent Russian academic to speculate that Russian top brass have been ‘sabotaging’ the nuclear tests – either because they fear Putin trying to use the weapons in Ukraine, or because they don’t work.

Russia was due to hold it annual ‘Grom’ nuclear drills this week, but so far has given no sign that it is preparing the drills (pictured, tests in 2019)

Air alerts that are typically issues during weapons drills popped up across Russia’s traditional testing grounds this week, but so far no launches have been reported

Varlery Solovey, an expert on Putin and former professor at Moscow’s prestigious Institute of International Relations, claimed that two tests were supposed to have taken place by now.

One warhead was supposed to have been detonated under the Barents Sea and the second was supposed to have been blown up at an underground test site at Arkhangelsk, which sits on the White Sea, he claimed.

‘Both times the tests were not held,’ he said. The president got reports that there was an emergency situation, that it didn’t work out.’

Solovey added: ‘Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence. 

‘But…if the third time tests end the same way, with nothing, [it will look like] sabotage… not fulfilling….the orders of the chief commander….’

He spoke out amid rising fears in the West that Putin’s finger could be creeping closer to the Red Button as his invasion goes into reverse.

Professor claims two bombs were supposed to have been detonated by now, and Putin’s plans might have fallen victim 

Earlier this month, Italian media reported a NATO alert had been sent warning that nuclear submarine Belgorod had departed its base in the White Sea.

The note speculated that Belgorod could be headed to the nearby Kara Sea to test a Poseidon underwater nuke, reports suggested.

Poseidon is a one-of-a-kind Russia weapon that state media claims is capable of exploding with such terrifying force that it causes radioactive tsunamis designed to drown entire coastlines or countries.

Days later, it was reported that a train used by Russia’s shadowy 12th Chief Directorate – which handles its nuclear weapons – was on the move toward Ukraine.

Amid those warnings, Joe Biden spoke out to share his fear that the world is now closer to ‘Armageddon’ than at any time since the Cold War.

Ben Wallace, UK defence secretary, was then summoned to an emergency meeting at the Pentagon this week to have discussions that his deputy – armed forces minister James Heappey – said were ‘beyond belief’.

Grom is Russia’s annual nuclear training exercise and typically takes place in mid-October, but the Kremlin has shown no sign it is going ahead (file image)

Fears are growing Putin may resort to nukes as his invasion of Ukraine fails and his army is pushed back in both north and south (file image)

That sparked further fears of nuclear escalation, as it came against the backdrop of Russian forces being pushed back in southern Ukraine.

Sergei Surovikin, overall commander of the ‘special military operation’, has been laying the groundwork for a potential retreat from the city – the only regional capital Putin’s forces have managed to capture in eight months of fighting.

Experts have suggested that Putin could detonate a nuke either over the Black Sea or on a remote testing ground to show that Russia’s huge but ageing stockpile of warheads still works.

But if Putin’s nukes don’t work, or his generals are sabotaging attempts to use them, then it could quickly erode his authority and one of the last means he has to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

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