Images ‘show Russia is preparing to test nuclear missiles’ at abandoned launch site

Images taken from the sky show Russia preparing to test out nuclear missiles at a previously abandoned launch site, according to reports.

New satellite pictures, taken by Planet Labs, indicate that Russia is preparing to trial flights of its Burevestnik war-heads near the Arctic circle.

The pictures, shared by researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, indicate “high levels” of activity at the previously dismantled test site.

Plant Lab photos, taken on September 20, reportedly show a rebuilt launch pad, a helicopter landing strip and several shipping containers, researchers Duitsman and Jeffrey Lewis said.

Russia dismantled the Pankovo site after test runs of the Burevestnik failed back in November 2017.



Russian missile launch
Russia previously dismantled its launch site

The country trialled four of the warheads between November 2018 and February 2018, each ending in a crash, The Moscow Times reports.

Russia paused testing and dismantled the site – but the researchers told CNN it appears “the pause is over”.

Duitsman and Lewis said: “The activity and new construction are consistent with a resumption of test flights of the Burevestnik.”



Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘risks sparking an arms race’ according to experts

Lewis said the latest round of testing risks reigniting a nuclear arms race with the United States.

He said: “The United States and Russia seem to be stumbling into a new arms race. This is one of a number of dangerous and destabilising weapons right out of science fiction that Russia is developing to defeat US missile defences.”

The images appear to show the removal of a building in the flight path, and a new launchpad set up.

Researchers said that the increased activity is taking place across three locations on the previously dismantled site.

It comes after two unnamed U.S officials told CNN they were aware of Russia’s work behind the scenes.

Earlier this month, the Kremlin said it successfully test-fired a hypersonic cruise missile from a naval ship in the White Sea.

And on Tuesday, Russia’s Ministry of Defence posted a video of Oniks cruise missile launch conducted from a military base in the Arctic.

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