Russian Military Research Facility Catches Fire, Leaving 17 Dead

( Last week, a fire broke out at a Russian military research center, killing seventeen people.

The fire broke out on Thursday morning at the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Troops in Tver, a city approximately 120 miles northwest of Moscow. According to officials, the cause of the blaze was not known.

According to Tvernews, the fire began on the third floor of the facility’s main building and spread quickly. According to local officials, it took an entire day to put the fire out. Some reports now say the building was destroyed.

Video posted to YouTube purportedly shows a section of the roof collapsing. The Russian website posted images of people escaping the fire through the windows of the building.

Operating under the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Central Scientific Research Institute’s work includes the development of air and space defense systems. The institute conducts research into navigation, command and control, as well as stealth technology.

The research institute was reportedly involved in the development of some of Russia’s state-of-the-art weapons systems, including the Iskander missile.

The Iskander-M mobile system’s two ballistic missiles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads and have a range of up to three hundred miles. The Iskander, code-named SS-26 Stone by NATO, replaced the former Soviet Scud missile.

The system was first used in 2008 during the conflict in Georgia. Designed to evade missile defense systems by flying on a low trajectory, the missiles can maneuver in flight and can strike a target with an accuracy of 2 to 5 meters.

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed Russian forces have begun concentrating additional units in the Russian city of Belgorod. As part of that build-up, Iskander-M missile launchers had been deployed approximately 40 miles from the Ukrainian border.