MOSCOW -- After an explosion killed five nuclear engineers last week at a northern Russian weapons research center, and reportedly resulted in a spike in radiation in the surrounding region, the Kremlin fell back on old habits: It lied, both about the number of dead and about the radiation.

Contradictory information out of Moscow and local authorities sparked public fears of a government cover-up of a more serious nuclear accident. Pharmacies in the cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk reported a run on iodine tablets as costumers bought up supplies believed to reduce the thyroid gland's intake of radioactive iodine.

By Monday, American intelligence officials seemed to confirm skeptics' fears when their reports suggested the explosion could have involved a nuclear-propelled cruise missile.

Still, five days after the mysterious accident, the Kremlin has yet to be forthcoming. It raises the question: Has Russia learned anything about transparency since Chernobyl?

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian fighter jet saw off a NATO warplane after it approached a plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over neutral waters in the Baltic Sea, the TASS news agency reported on Tuesday.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's top nuclear official promised on Monday to succeed in developing new weapons as he paid tribute to five scientists killed in what U.S. experts suspect was the botched test of a new missile vaunted by President Vladimir Putin.

The five scientists were buried in the closed city of Sarov on Monday. They died last Thursday in what state nuclear agency Rosatom has said was an accident during a rocket test on a sea platform off northern Russia.

The defense ministry initially said background radiation had remained normal, but a spike in radiation levels recorded in a nearby city prompted U.S.-based nuclear experts to suspect the failed test involved a nuclear-powered cruise missile.

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(Gravity Industries)

The future of flying soldiers just took one more turbine-assisted leap towards becoming a reality — maybe.

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(Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

While every military has accidents, the Russian military appears to be more accident-prone than other great powers.

"There's a tendency for accidents to happen in Russia," Jeffrey Edmonds, a Russia expert at CNA, told INSIDER.

Edmonds, a former CIA analyst and member of the National Security Council, said that the problem appears to be that Russia often combines a willingness to take risks with an outdated military infrastructure that simply can't support that culture, creating an environment where accidents are more likely.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - New blasts tore through a Siberian ammunition dump on Friday during a clean-up operation, four days after it was destroyed by explosions that forced thousands of people to evacuate nearby areas.

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