PortandTerminal.com, July 6, 2019
Fourteen Russian navy crew killed in a fire on a nuclear submarine on Monday have been buried, amid continuing secrecy over their mission.
MOSCOW – The fourteen Russian navy crew killed in last week’s fire on a nuclear sub The Losharik have been buried. They were buried in the Serafimovskoye Cemetery of the country’s second city, St Petersburg, under tight security.
The Losharik is one of the most unique and capable in Russia’s naval fleet. The deaths of 14 of its elite crew this week in an unexplained incident have touched a raw nerve in Russia, which remembers the horrific loss of 118 of its servicemen onboard the Kursk sinking in 2000.
All of the lost crew were given posthumous honours, and four – all captains – were awarded the nation’s highest honour, Hero of the Russian Federation.
It was a nuclear sub
Russian President Vladimir Putin has disclosed for the first time that the top-secret military submarine Losharik was nuclear-powered, prompting the Defence Minister to confirm its nuclear reactor had been contained.
Russian officials have faced accusations of trying to cover up the full details of the accident that killed 14 sailors as they were carrying out what the defence ministry called a survey of the sea floor near the Arctic.
The Ministry of Defence said the incident took place on Monday, but it was not officially disclosed until late on Tuesday and there was no indication until Thursday whether the vessel had a nuclear reactor onboard, despite intense interest in that question from authorities in neighbouring Norway.
Putin, in a Kremlin meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, disclosed the fact that the submarine had been nuclear-powered for the first time by asking Shoigu about its condition after the deadly fire.
“The nuclear reactor on the vessel is completely isolated and unmanned. All the necessary measures were taken by the crew to protect the reactor which is in complete working order,” Shoigu told Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript.
The fire had erupted in the submarine’s battery compartment, Shoigu added.
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