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NATO Says It Won't Spy on Sunken Sub

November 17, 2000|From Reuters

BRUSSELS — Russia has no need to fear that underwater NATO spies are snooping around the sunken submarine Kursk, an official speaking for the Western alliance said Thursday.

Responding to reports that the Russian navy was setting off small explosions to keep any prying eyes away from the wreck in the Barents Sea, the official said: "They have no need to worry about NATO snooping."

"The Kursk is still Russian. It is also effectively a grave for the submariners who so tragically died," the official added. "So they don't need to do this to keep NATO away."

The alliance was apparently not apprised of any decision to set off the explosives, which were detected by Norwegian seismologists.

Russia has repeatedly suggested that the Kursk sank with its crew of 118 in August after an explosion triggered by an underwater collision with a foreign submarine.

The United States, Britain and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have all denied involvement with the Kursk sinking.

The three likeliest causes of the disaster are thought to be a collision with a foreign vessel, a World War II mine or an explosion on board that detonated the Kursk's torpedoes.

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