Putin awards order of Courage victims explosion Arkhangelsk
© Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin
Vladimir Putin awards the Order of Courage to the widows of those killed in the explosion in Arkhangelsk Region.
The nuclear scientists killed in a blast at a secret military range in northern Russia were developing a unique weapon critical for the country's sovereignty, President Vladimir Putin said, vowing to keep improving the technology.

Widows of the scientists killed after a secretive missile engine test went awry in the Arkhangelsk region in August, were invited to the Kremlin on Thursday. Putin handed them their husbands' posthumous Orders of Courage and expressed his condolences.

"They were working on a very difficult, important and critical assignment," Putin said in his eulogy to the late scientists, said to be some of the best specialists in the field.
We're talking about the most advanced and cutting-edge technical ideas and solutions, unequaled anywhere in the world; the weapon that is entitled to ensure sovereignty, security of Russia for decades to come.
The possession of such technology by Russia is "the most important, reliable guarantee of peace on the planet. And, no matter what, we'll certainly keep improving this weaponry," the president promised.

A massive blast rocked an offshore platform at a secret military range in northern Arkhangelsk Region on August 8. The accident, which occurred during the testing of an "isotope power source" for the experimental "liquid-propellant [missile] engine," took the lives of seven people. Five of them were employees of Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, and two others were from the Defense Ministry.

The blast caused a brief radiation spike in the area, but the readings quickly went back to normal. However, that didn't prevent the Western media from publishing panicking headlines of a new Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that the explosion was related to Russia's hypersonic cruise missile program, 9M730 Burevestnik (NATO codename SSC-X-9 Skyfall), but his speculations were never confirmed by Moscow.