Putin watches nuclear explosion from Cold War bunker as Russia taunts West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been spotted watching a recreated Soviet-era nuclear explosion from a mockup bunker at a major exhibition in Moscow.

The exhibition, which he was due to attend last month but failed to do so in mysterious circumstances, contains a slit in a wall of "bunker", located just six miles from the site of the first Soviet nuclear explosions. Video footage of Putin shows a guide reassuring Putin during the tour, saying: "Don't be scared . . . it'll be quite loud.". This then saw a huge explosion take place right in front of him, but it was just on video.

The Russian leader visited this massive exhibition as he hinted at restarting nuclear tests in the Arctic, specifically on the archipelago Novaya Zemlya. Putin has already withdrawn Russia's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and has also instructed his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, to prepare for the resumption of tests.

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At the exhibition, Mikhail Polunin, editor-in-chief of Strana RosAtom TV programme, explained to Putin how scientists and Soviet defence chiefs in the bunker "felt the ground shaking" during the early nuclear tests. The first Soviet nuclear test took place in 1949, with more than 700 following in the subsequent decades.

The exhibition taunts the West by highlighting the notorious 50 megaton Tsar Bomba, the most powerful in the history of mankind.

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The display of the Cold War-era bomb at the giant new Russia exhibition is seen as signalling Russian hostility to the West, defying demands from the West that Putin should not restart nuclear tests. The exhibition includes a display of the 'Tsar Bomba' – aka AN602, a thermonuclear aerial bomb.

Some of his closest aides have called for Putin to scare the West over its support for Ukraine with an equivalent jolt to the 30 October 1961 Tsar Bomb test, but thankfully, he has so far resisted.

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