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NATO submarine caused Kursk sinking that killed 118 Russian sailors, ex-admiral claims

The ‘Kursk’ sank on August 12, 2000 at a depth of 108 meters, claiming the lives of all 118 crew members and sparking the first major international crisis of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

An official investigation commissioned by the Russian government ruled two years later that the incident was the result of a torpedo explosion, which then triggered the detonation of ammunition on board.

However, in an interview with RIA Novosti, aired on Monday, former Northern Fleet commander Vyacheslav Popov offered a theory on how the incident might have happened.

According to him, a vessel operated by a NATO power got too close to Moscow’s vessel, colliding with its bow and damaging the torpedo tube, which was followed by an explosion. The compartment then flooded, sending the sub to the depths of the sea.


The submarine that collided with ‘Kursk’ was following it, apparently, but failed to ensure safety in the sea’s environment and all other conditions, approached too close, or the Kursk maneuver led to a loss of contact,” he said.

Popov claimed he knew the name of the sub belonging to the US-military led bloc “with a 90% probability.”

However, he admitted he did not have sufficient available evidence to make the case publicly at present.

According to the former naval chief, who served until 2001, the vessel was in the region where it collided with ‘Kursk’. He also noted that SOS signals were sent from special equipment that Russian boats were not equipped with, implying another submarine must have been present.

“Well, he hears, hears, hears, hears and follows: here is the Kursk, here is the boat. And then the Kursk performs some actions, some kind of maneuver or technical actions that change or disappear or decrease in level He stops seeing him, he tries to jump up to hear again, to control. And at that time he made a turn, here you go, here’s a collision for you. Well, I’m modeling,” said Popov.

According to him, the collision occurred on the bow of the Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk’s torpedo tube was damaged, an explosion occurred, the first compartment was flooded, and the submarine hit the bottom.

“Detonation of the entire torpedo ammunition and deprivation of the first compartment. Not only the first – the first, the second, the third. And the fourth is destroyed too. The second explosion is the most powerful. And the foreigner also suffered from the first collision, from her own collision, and from the second powerful explosion, which is why she also lay on the ground until her ability to move was restored, but with limitations, “the admiral explained.

The SOS signals that day were sent not by the Kursk, but by the nearby NATO submarine, which was damaged, he added. Anti-submarine aviation of the Russian Navy found it off the coast of Norway.

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Viktor Kravchenko, a former chief of staff of the Russian Navy, later agreed with Popov’s theory, remarking he was “also inclined to believe this version” of the demise of the Kursk, based on circumstantial evidence.

Three NATO vessels, the British ‘Splendid’ and American subs ‘Toledo’ and ‘Memphis’, were reportedly in the vicinity of Russian military exercises in the Barents Sea at the time.

Neither Washington nor London provided documents on the condition of their vessels after Moscow requested the information.

Back in 2000, in Arkady Mamontov’s documentary about the Kursk, Popov said that for him “the main version is a collision with an unidentified submarine, which struck the most vulnerable point of our boat of this project, of course, unconsciously.” However, then the admiral did not indicate her affiliation and the fact that he knows her name.

According to Russian and foreign media reports, the nuclear submarines Memphis and Toledo of the US Navy , as well as the Splendid of the British Navy , were in the exercise area.

The News24 portal reported that the Russian Ministry of Defense requested permission from the Pentagon to inspect Memphis and Toledo submarines, but was refused, it was stated that “all submarines are in working order.” The same answer followed from London, the media specified.

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However, the Russian government maintains that the official investigation’s conclusion is the most likely, with many analysts pointing out the period was a challenging time for the Russian military. A combination of underfunding, aging Soviet hardware, and low morale could all have contributed to the incident.

Putin, then only months into his first term as president, took the brunt of much of the criticism for the Kursk tragedy, with the large-scale loss of young Russian sailors sparking sorrow and outrage. Failed rescue efforts caused anger and frustration both domestically and worldwide.

Popov’s claims come amid heightened concerns over NATO’s activity around Russia’s borders.

On Friday, the bloc’s top official, Jens Stoltenberg, proposed deploying American nuclear warheads around Eastern Europe to counter a supposed threat posed by Moscow.

In response, the Kremlin said such a statement would mean that the Founding Act of Russia-NATO relations “no longer exists.”

Under this document, inked in 1997, the two parties do not consider each other rivals. It guarantees no nuclear weapons will be deployed to new NATO members after this date.

Source: RIA NOVOSTI  and RT

Header: RUSSIA, MURMANSK REGION. AUGUST 29. Sunken submarine “Kursk” portraited prior to plunging. ( ITAR-TASS file photo by Alexander Raube)