Moscow: Fire broke out on the Russian nuclear submarine, Losharik, recognised as the most destructive vessel and also a secret weapon, of the Russian Navy which claimed the lives of 14 navy personnel. After the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin cancelled all his appointments and summoned an urgent meeting of high-ranking defence officials. Putin stated that the incident had caused the most significant damage to Russia. The fire that had sparked on the submarine while on an exclusive operation, has raised suspicion.
The Russian defence forces were the first to receive information on the fire that engulfed the ‘AS-12 Losharik’ in the Barents Sea to the north of Russia. The 14 crew members aboard the submarine were killed in the incident and are said to have died of suffocation caused by the smoke. On receiving information of the fire, Russian President Putin called for an urgent meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and asked to send the chief of Western Command immediately to visit the accident scene. At the same time, he also met the senior officials of the Russian Armed Forces.
The incident of the Losharik catching fire was initially kept under wraps. On Tuesday, the information on the event was disclosed in a press conference. Russia clarified that the cause of the fire that engulfed the submarine and related information was top secret, and therefore, cannot be made public. After the fire was doused, a Russian destroyer tugged the vessel to the Severomorsk port.
The Losharik is considered to be the most destructive submarine in the Russian Navy and is used for research in the Arctic. Also, the nuclear-powered vessel is also known as the most secretive weapon of the Russian Navy and has been nicknamed ‘GUGI’. Furthermore, the submarine reported directly to the central Russian intelligence agency instead of the Russian Navy. The western media has thus asserted that it proved the Losharik was of the highest importance to the Russian defence forces.