Secrecy surrounds Russian submarine fire
July 5, 2019 -- Russian officials have faced accusations of trying to cover up the full details of the deadly incident involving a top-secret military submarine.
The nuclear reactor on one of the Russian navy's research submersibles hasn't been damaged in a fire that killed 14 seamen, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday, adding that the vessel would be put back into service after repairs.
The Defense Ministry said the 14 seamen were killed by toxic fumes from Monday's blaze, the navy's worst accident in more than a decade. It said some others survived the blaze, but there was no information on how many crew members have been rescued.
The ministry didn't name the vessel, and the Kremlin refused to divulge any details about it, saying the information is highly classified. Russian media reported that it was the country's most secret submersible, a nuclear-powered research submarine called the Losharik intended for sensitive missions at great depths.
Moscow’s slow release of information about the incident has drawn comparisons with the opaque way the Soviet Union handled the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster, and another deadly submarine accident — the 2000 sinking of the nuclear-powered Kursk, which claimed 118 lives.