Nuclear weapons

Russia's deadly explosion linked to "unstoppable" missile

Putin visits a missile facility in 2017. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

At least 7 people, many or all of them scientists, were killed last week when a missile test resulted in an explosion near Russia’s Arctic coast, per the NYT. Little has been confirmed publicly about the explosion, except that it released radiation.

Between the lines: “The reference to radiation was striking — tests of missile engines don’t involve radiation. Well, with one exception: Last year, Russia announced it had tested a cruise missile powered by a nuclear reactor. ... NATO calls it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall,” Jeffrey Lewis writes for Foreign Policy.

China says it won't "stand by idly" if U.S. deploys missiles in Asia

Chinese and American flags waving next to each other
Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images

China said Tuesday it "will not stand by idly" if the U.S. follows through with plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in the coming months in the Asia-Pacific region, reports AP.

Why it matters: The warning comes after the U.S. formally withdrew last week from the Cold War-era Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement with Russia — which the U.S. claimed was unfair because other geopolitical rivals, like China, weren't restricted by its limits. Chinese officials also said they have no plans of joining nuclear weapons talks with the U.S. and Russia due to China's smaller arsenal.