Kursk Enquiry Ends, No Charges Made
Published: July 30, 2002 (Issue # 790)
But relatives of those who died on the Kursk voiced anger Monday that prosecutors decided not to press charges in the sinking and demanded a clearer explanation about the cause of the tragedy.
Retired navy Captain Vladimir Mityayev, who lost a son on the Kursk and represents 39 Kursk sailors' families, said Ustinov's conclusions were unsatisfactory.
"We had expected that those at fault for the death of our children would be named," he said in a telephone interview. "To me, this is a clear case of negligence."
He said he and the families he represents have asked to meet with investigators for answers to what exactly happened on the Kursk.
He has also asked a Moscow-based lawyer to examine the investigation results.
Nadezhda Nekrasova, the mother of a Kursk sailor, told Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday that she was willing to go to court in Russia or abroad to find out who was responsible for the sinking.
Chief military prosecutor Alexander Savenkov said Monday that investigators will do their best to answer relatives' questions.
Ustinov, in presenting the results of the investigation, defended the government's failure to save any of the crew. Twenty-three people survived the explosions in the bow and gathered in the less-damaged stern, but Ustinov said they died within eight hours, succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning from fires and the rising pressure caused by icy water flooding the deck.
The government had been criticized for missing a chance to save the Kursk crew because of its slow and botched response to the disaster. Putin came under fire for his failure to quickly end his Black Sea vacation when the Kursk sank.
Putin on Friday ordered Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to closely study the prosecutors' findings to prevent similar catastrophes.
The navy has already pulled from service all torpedoes of the type that exploded. The torpedoes had a higher speed and range than conventional torpedoes powered by conventional electric engines making them highly attractive for the military.
The ruined hulk of the submarine was salvaged and lifted off the seabed last fall.
- AP, SPT
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