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National Security Desk / Jul. 2, 2019

Russian Nuke Sub Accident Sparks Additional Concerns

Russia's secrecy regarding this nuclear incident is raising concerns.

On Monday, we received reports regarding the loss of a Russian “research submarine” in the Arctic. On Tuesday, there were Russian media reports about 14 dead after a fire on one of their AS-12 deep-water nuclear submarines, part of Russia’s secret “Losharik” operations in the area.

Speculation about the incident heated up after Vice President Mike Pence cancelled a trip to New Hampshire Tuesday, and his advance team staffer carelessly told reporters there was an “emergency.” At the time of that cancellation, top Russian diplomatic corp officers were at the White House for an unscheduled meeting. There were similar meetings with American diplomatic personnel in Moscow, as Vladimir Putin met with his Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu.

The meetings were considered “standard protocol,” but our source indicates the consultations were to confirm where the incident actually occurred and if there was any nuclear contamination. More ominously, the meeting was to establish assurances that the incident was unrelated to the presence of an American submarine in the same area, which had been in close proximity to the Russian submersible in the prior 24 hours.

Given the recent wide viewing of the Chernobyl docu-drama, which highlighted Russia’s secrecy during that catastrophic 1986 nuclear incident, there is increased speculation about the incident this week. However, according to Norway’s nuclear safety authorities, there is no confirmed increase of radiation in the arctic area where it is believed the incident occurred.

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