A retired Russian admiral alleges that the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000 was caused by a collision with a NATO submarine, thus challenging the official conclusion that it happened due to a faulty torpedo.

Former Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, who was the commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet when the Kursk blew up and sank during naval maneuvers in the Barents Sea, said in an interview on Monday that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization submarine (NATO) accidentally collided with the Kursk, while following him at close range.

Vyacheslav Popov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that the NATO submarine was also damaged by the explosion and sent a distress signal, failing to identify the vessel and acknowledging that he had no solid evidence to back up his claim.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the former commander’s claim and pointed to the official investigation, which concluded that the catastrophe was triggered by an explosive fuel mixture coming from a faulty torpedo.

Vyacheslav Popov, who was blamed for the slow and inadequate response to the tragedy when he was commander of the Northern Fleet, had previously pointed to the collision as the main factor, but the last statement was more direct and detailed.

According to Russian media, two US submarines and one British submarine were seen in the area near the Russian naval exercise in the Barents Sea when the Kursk disaster struck.

The Kursk submarine tragedy occurred during military maneuvers in the Barents Sea, killing 118 sailors on 12 August 2000.

The loss of the Kursk remains to this day the worst disaster ever for the Russian navy, despite other serious accidents, such as the one that killed 20 suffocated sailors aboard the submarine Nerpa in the Sea of ​​Japan.

Other fatal accidents occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, involving submarines, mainly Soviet, but also American, including what caused the disappearance of the USS Thresher, with 129 people on board, which became the biggest disaster with this type of vessel until today.


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