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Deadly rocket explosion at Russian military base

Maxim Shemetov, REUTERS | A Russian Tornado-G missile system fires during a demonstration at the Alabino range near Moscow on June 25, 2019.

At least two people were killed and seven injured in an explosion at a military base used for missile tests in the far north of Russia on Thursday, the defence ministry said in a statement.

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"During the test of a liquid propellant jet engine, an explosion occurred and the equipment caught fire," the ministry said. "As a result of the accident, six defence ministry employees and a developer were injured. Two specialists died of their wounds," it said, adding that radiation levels near the facility were "normal".

"There's no radioactive contamination," a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk region, where the base is situated, told AFP. The Defence Ministry also said that radiation levels were normal.

But a short-term spike in radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk was recorded after the explosion, according to a spokeswoman for authorities cited by Russia’s TASS news agency.

The accident is the second to hit the Russian military in less than a week, with a fire lasting 16 hours after multiple explosions in Siberia on Monday. At least one person was killed in the incident and eight injured, while over 16,500 people had to be evacuated.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS and AFP)

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