- MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's
ill-fated Kursk nuclear submarine was probably sunk by a misfired torpedo
during naval wargames, Interfax reported.
- Lawmaker Sergei Zhekov, a member of a parliamentary probe
into the disaster, said the "Peter the Great" nuclear cruiser
had launched five missiles in the wake of a mock attack by the Kursk, but
only four were found after the training exercise.
- "It looks most probable that the submarine was hit
by the missing torpedo missile and when it tried to surface, collided with
a Russian ship," Zhekov told the daily Vladivostok newspaper on Thursday.
- Zhekov's claim came a week after Germany's Berliner Zeitung
daily reported that Russian security services had concluded the nuclear-powered
submarine sank after being hit by a torpedo from the Peter the Great.
- The Kremlin at that time dismissed the newspaper report
as "an invention" while Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo also
categorically denied Zhekov's claims Thursday, the private NTV television
- Zhekov, a former submarine officer, said the official
Russian version of the Barents Sea tragedy, suggesting the submarine sank
after a collision with a foreign, probably US or British, submarine, was
- Zhekov said the events leading up to the disaster would
become clear after the submarine was recovered from the sea bed and examined.
- Meanwhile Vladimir Urban, a naval expert with military
news agency AVN, expressed scepticism about Zhekov's claims, saying that
military sources insisted that the Peter the Great had fired no torpedoes
on the day the Kursk sank.
- "If the Peter the Great did in fact fire torpedoes
that day, I could believe that one misfired and hit the Kursk," he
- "But you couldn't keep something like that hushed
up. There's a crew of 800 on the Peter the Great, someone would have spilled
the beans," Urban added.
- Klebanov has pledged that his commission will reveal
the definitive causes of the Kursk disaster but Zhekov warned the government
not to attempt a cover-up when it published the findings.
- "They will not manage to hush up the reasons for
this tragedy. As a lawmaker, a former submariner and a human being, I will
do my best to make the truth public and see that the culprits are punished,"
he told the newspaper.
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