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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Theories Behind the Sinking of the Submarine

Following is a list of theories from officials, the newspapers and Norway’s military on why the Kursk sank.

Kursk hit a foreign submarine

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev — a buoy, not of Russian origin, was spotted near the Kursk a day after it sank. The buoy disappeared before the Russians could get to it.

Komsomolskaya Pravda — the Kursk collided with a U.S. submarine. Version No. 2, the foreign submarine "most likely was British."

Nezavisimaya Gazeta — quotes military sources as saying they found a fragment of the deck of a foreign submarine 330 meters from the scene of the catastrophe.


Komsomolskaya Pravda — there were 130 sailors on board rather than the official number of 118. It says the 12 extra men, military and civilian, had been sent to sea for "special" training with torpedoes. Sergeyev denies the newspaper report.

Norway’s military — the explosion of a torpedo or another Russian weapon probably sank the Kursk.

Kursk hit a mine

Mikhail Motsak, chief of the Northern Fleet — the Kursk hit a World War II mine.

Norway’s military — it is impossible to rule out a mine as a possible cause of the first of two blasts.

Chechen bomber

Kommersant — follows up a claim made last week by Chechen rebel leaders that the Kursk sank as a result of a bomb set off by a Dagestani kamikaze sailor. The paper reports that FSB investigators questioned co-workers and the widow of one of three people from Dagestan who were on board. FSB and military prosecutors deny this report. Soviet-Style Secrecy Endures in Sub Crisis, The Washington Post, Aug. 19. The Bellona Foundation Russian Naval Forces, The Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University Oscar II: Jane's Naval Forces Oscar: Federation of American Scientists Perry Slingsby Systems: the LR5 submarine Kursk Tragedy: A Message Board Save Their Souls: A Message Board on the Kursk Tragedy (in Russian) The Russian Ministry of Defense (in Russian)