On October 14th, three US diplomats were removed from a train, while travelling through a restricted area in Russia.
The three were in a train in the area of Severodvinsk, travelling there from the town of Nenoksa.
Among them are the naval attaché at the US Embassy William Curtis, the attaché at the US Embassy Jerry Arriola, as well as the US military attaché Colonel D.S. Dann.
The US embassy confirmed the incident, the Interfax news service reported, but said the three diplomats had filed the proper paperwork to travel in the area.
On the other side, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the diplomats had named a different city as their destination and had “obviously got lost”.
The three were detained after being removed from the train and were later released. They could, however, face administrative charges for traveling in a restricted military area, Interfax reported.
The Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Igor Orlov left without commenting on information regarding the removal of three employees of the US Embassy from the Nenoksa-Severodvinsk train.
“I don’t deal with diplomats,” Orlov said to a question from Interfax if he knew about the incident.
The Ren-TV channel reported that “a naval attache at the embassy of the United States of America, captain first rank Whitsitt William Curtis, attaché at the US embassy Arriola Jerry Anthony and military attache at the US embassy, Colonel D.S. Dann, being on the territory of Severodvinsk, which is included in the list of territories of the Russian Federation with regulated visits for foreigners, they did not provide the documents necessary for staying in this city.”
Russian Foreign Minister spokesperson Maria Zakharova, commenting on the incident with US diplomats in Severodvinsk, said that representatives of the American embassy are constantly trying to penetrate into the closed regions of Russia.
According to her, US military diplomats neglect the need to notify of such visits.
The U.S. embassy said diplomats were in Nenoksa as part of an official trip. The Russian Foreign Ministry claims that they notified the Ministry of Defense about the trip, but announced their intention to visit only Arkhangelsk.
The American mission claimed the group was on an official visit, authorized by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“We fully confirm the comment of the US embassy,” a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry read.
Severodvinsk has a major shipyard for Russia’s Northern Fleet. It also hosts a base for nuclear-powered submarines.
Nenoksa is home to a secretive military testing ground which went into the headlines of MSM on August 8th.
A prototype missile engine with an “isotope power source” exploded during trials, killing five people. The ill-fated tests prompted rumors of “radiation leaks,” while tabloids were quick to brand the incident a “new Chernobyl.”
Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom, has acknowledged that five of its nuclear workers were killed as a result of the explosion.
A US State Department official on October 10th said the United States concluded that the explosion occurred amid an operation to recover a nuclear-powered missile that had apparently crashed during a test.
“The United States has determined that the explosion near Nyonoksa was the result of a nuclear reaction that occurred during the recovery of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile,” US diplomat Thomas DiNanno, said during a speech at the UN.
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