Russian Federation says 14 sailors die in submarine fire

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A Russian submarine, believed to be tasked with spying on foreign communications, has lost 14 crew members after a blaze broke out aboard the nuclear-powered vessel. "The nuclear reactor on the vessel is completely isolated", Mr. Shoigu told Mr. Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript.

Officials claim the submariners sealed themselves in one of the compartments to battle the blaze and toxic fumes, sacrificing themselves in order to save other crew members. It had been descending to extreme depths on hard missions, the paper reported. In 2012, the Losharik was involved in research meant to prove Russia's claim on the vast Arctic seabed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 4, 2019. The crew took all the necessary measures to protect the unit, and it is in full working condition. "This allows us to hope it will take a fairly short time to restore the machine", Shoigu said.

Fourteen seamen have died in a fire on a deep submersible, Russia's defence ministry said, the latest in a string of disasters and accidents to hit the country's navy.

In his meeting with his defence minister, Putin said that of the 14 dead, seven held the rank of captain, first class, and two were holders of the Hero of Russian Federation, the highest military award issued in the post-World War Two period. A first-rank captain comes fifth in the Russian naval hierarchy, after four ranks of admiral.

It also did not say how many people were on board the submersible or if there were sailors who survived the fire. A "civilian specialist" was rescued by the crew during the fire.

The Trump administration said in October that it planned to pull out of the treaty and confirmed its withdrawal in February, saying Russian Federation had violated the agreement by building a new missile system.

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In Russia's worst submarine disaster, the Kursk nuclear submarine suffered an explosion and sank during naval maneuvers in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000, killing all 118 crewmembers.

Putin, who stayed on holiday for several days after the disaster, was severely criticised for his response. Media reports at the time showed him enjoying a holiday at a Black Sea villa as families of the victims demanded information about their relatives.

Russian officials previously declined to release any details of the vessel, citing its secret mission.

What sort of submersible was it? The submersible was widely reported to be an AS-12 or AS-31 type nicknamed "Losharik". It is unknown how many were on board the submarine. The base, No. 45707, is attached to the Defense ministry's Main Directorate of Deep-water Research, a top secret department that runs Russia's deep-sea recon submarines.

Designed in the late 1980s and launched in 2003, Russian Federation has also largely succeeded in keeping the submarine out of view and only a few photographs of what are believed to be the submarine exist.

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