Russia’s military has said it intends to attempt to make an entire city vanish using a gigantic smoke screen.
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Russia’s northern fleet announced that it will attempt to hide the whole of the city of Severomorsk, on the country’s arctic coast, as part of a military exercise. The city hosts part of Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet.
A spokesman for the fleet said that at some point in the next three days, mobile and stationary smoke-launchers will create a “blanket of smoke” to cover the city, obscuring it and the fleet’s base. Russia media noted it was the first time the military had ever tried such a maneuver.
Severomorsk is home to almost 50,000 residents, who did not appear to have been asked whether they were willing to (temporarily) disappear.
A statement from the fleet said that the smoke was harmless in the concentrations that would be used, though it noted that it did have a “specific smell."
The statement said that the fleet’s command requests that citizens “remain calm” while under the smoke.
Svetlana, a salesperson at a local bookstore who did not want her last name to be used, said she was not bothered by the exercise. "They think up something every year. It's all the same to me," she said.
Mila Tsigareva, a worker in a hardware store, was likewise unfazed: "Let them cover the whole city with smoke. It's all for our own good."