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Russians Apparently Using Blasts to Deter Sub Snoops

November 16, 2000|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Blasts monitored since September in the area of the Barents Sea where a Russian nuclear submarine sank in August came from depth charges and grenades launched from a Russian flagship moored at the site, a navy spokesman said Wednesday.

Northern Fleet spokesman Vladimir Navrotsky said in televised comments that depth charges and grenades were used routinely to ensure security of ships patrolling the area.

In Oslo, the Norwegian NORSAR seismological observatory said Wednesday that it had detected about 40 explosions near the sunken submarine Kursk in what could be a Russian campaign to deter foreign submarines from snooping around the wreck.

The observatory had "recently recorded a number of relatively weak seismic signals from sources in the area of the Barents Sea where the Russian submarine Kursk sank on Aug. 12, 2000," NORSAR said in a statement.

"The sources of these signals are assumed to be small, controlled explosions. The purpose of these explosions is unknown, but in NORSAR's assessment a possible explanation might be that the Russian military wants to keep foreign submarines away from the area," it said.

An unexplained accident during a military exercise left 118 sailors dead when the Kursk sank.

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