MOSCOW - The Kremlin boasted on Tuesday it was winning the race to develop new cutting edge nuclear weapons despite a mysterious rocket accident last week in northern Russia that caused a temporary spike in radiation levels.

Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency, has said that the Aug. 8 accident occurred during a rocket test on a sea platform in the White Sea, killing at least five and injuring three more.

It has pledged to keep developing new weapons regardless, portraying the men who died in the test as heroes.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday the United States was “learning much” from the explosion which he suggested happened during the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile vaunted by President Vladimir Putin last year.

Russia, which has said the missile will have an “unlimited range” and be able to overcome any defenses, calls the missile the 9M730 Burevestnik (Storm Petrel). The NATO alliance has designated it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.

A senior Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said Washington was not prepared to say at this point whether it was a nuclear explosion but believed it did involve radioactive elements.

The official said the explosion could represent a potentially significant setback to the Russian program although it remained unclear whether it was caused by a launching failure.

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