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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Navy Diving for 'the Truth'

Last week the ship Akademik Mstislav Keldysh returned from an expedition to examine the wreck of the nuclear submarine Kursk that sank in the Barents Sea in August.

The Keldysh is equipped with two deep-water Mir submersibles that were previously used to examine the hull of the Titanic. In fact, Keldysh was at the scene of the sinking of the Titanic in the Atlantic at the time of the Kursk disaster, earning money taking wealthy tourists down in the Mir subs to get a glimpse of the most well-known shipwreck in history.

The authorities specially requested the Keldysh to abort its money-earning mission and steam home to see the Kursk. The authorities even paid more then $10 million to hire the Keldysh.

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, head of the governmental commission of inquiry into the Kursk disaster, told the press last week in St. Petersburg that with the help of the Mir subs "we now fully understand the magnitude of the disaster and know that the inner section between the first and second compartments of the Kursk was blown away."

The Mir subs also gathered some debris from the sunken Kursk. Was that all the Mirs were deployed to find?

The Mir subs can descend more than six kilometers, gather samples and record video footage.

But the Kursk is not the Titanic ? it?s not lying on the bottom of the Atlantic, but just under 100 meters of water and one does not need a powerful craft such as a Mir sub to simply take a closer look at the wreck.

The navy managed to get video footage of the Kursk two days after the disaster. In August, Norwegian divers filmed the Kursk and even penetrated the hull. Today there is another Russian-Norwegian expedition out at sea that plans not only to penetrate the hull, but also to search the inside for evidence of the cause of the disaster and to retrieve the remains of dead sailors.

It?s obvious that divers are much better equipped to search the wreck of the Kursk than Mir subs. The divers will see as much and maybe more than the subs, while costing less. It has been reported that the expedition will cost Russia only $6 million.

So, what was the Keldysh really up to?

The secret was given away by Admiral Vladimir Valuyev, first deputy commander of the Baltic Fleet, who recently told reporters in Kaliningrad, "The research equipment on board the Keldysh is to collect fragments around the hull of the sunken submarine. In the opinion of the navy command, these fragments should include parts of the hull of the foreign submarine that caused the accident."

The Keldysh was in the Barents Sea not to examine the Kursk per se, but to scan the seabed with Mir subs. These are much better equipped to do such a task than divers or regular submarines and can also gather material evidence from the seabed.

Valuyev added that when proof is found "apart from moral liability, there will also be financial sanctions" against the guilty party.

The navy believes the West should pay Russia billions of dollars to compensate the Kursk.

The Mir subs scanned four square kilometers of the seabed around the Kursk, but did not find any U.S. or British debris. But up until last Friday, Klebanov continued to state that a collision with a foreign sub is the most probable cause of the Kursk disaster.

The navy believes the Keldysh was simply out of luck when it failed to find any evidence of a foreign sub. Navy sources say the Kursk continued to move some time after the collision and the evidence of NATO mischief is still somewhere out there on the seabed to be found later.

Last month several papers published so-called secret stories, allegedly based on leaks from the Kremlin. The stories claimed that, during a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Bill Clinton acknowledged that a U.S. submarine in fact sank the Kursk. It also was alleged that Clinton?s recent decision not to go ahead with the development of a national missile defense was made to compensate Russia for the damage done by the U.S. navy "deliberately killing 118 Russian sailors."

It?s possible that new stories will appear in the press ? leaked by the Kremlin or the secret services ? that the Mir subs in fact did find incriminating evidence, but it was suppressed to accommodate the U.S. and so on.

The ship is dead, but the Kursk saga continues.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/indexes/89.html Click here to read our special report on The Kursk Trragedy.