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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper: 2nd Note Says Torpedo Sunk Kursk

A second note that was found on a Kursk sailor said the nuclear-powered submarine was sunk in August by the explosion of an experimental torpedo, Izvestia reported Monday.

Unlike the first note found by divers, which was read on national television, the second note was immediately whisked away by the military and became classified information. Its author was kept secret.

Izvestia said it was written by Lieutenant Captain Rashid Aryapov, who died along with the rest of the Kursk's 118-man crew after the submarine sank Aug. 12.

The newspaper did not obtain a copy of the note, but quoted unidentified Northern Fleet officers as saying that they had read it.

Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo and Northern Fleet spokesman Vladimir Navrotsky would not comment on whether Aryapov had written the note or on its contents.

Navrotsky said his fleet's officers were unlikely to have seen the note because it was claimed by military prosecutors as soon as it was delivered to shore.

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.

Calls to Sergei Ushakov, spokesman for the chief military prosecutor's office, went unanswered Monday.

Russian and Norwegian divers retrieved 12 bodies from the Kursk during an 18-day operation that ended Nov. 7. Notes were found on two of the bodies.

Navy officials identified the author of the first note as Lieutenant Captain Dmitry Kolesnikov and claimed to have released the full text.

Like Kolesnikov, Aryapov said more than 20 members of the crew had survived two blasts and remained alive for at least several hours after the submarine hit the bottom of the Barents Sea, Izvestia said. Unlike Kolesnikov, Aryapov blamed the disaster on a torpedo that was to have been test fired that day, according to the newspaper report.

Another newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, also identified Aryapov as the author of the second note and said the deputy commander of the Northern Fleet, Vladimir Dobroskochenko, revealed this during a Nov. 9 meeting with relatives of the crew.

However, a military prosecutor later told Aryapov's widow that it was some other Kursk crew member who had written the note, the daily reported Saturday. Komsomolskaya Pravda also quoted investigator Artur Yegiyev of the military prosecutor's office as saying that he was still trying to determine who had written the second note.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, head of a special government commission investigating the accident, has said repeatedly that investigators are looking into three possibilities: a collision with a submarine, collision with a World War II mine and an onboard explosion

However, Igor Spassky, a member of the commission and the head of the Rubin design bureau, which designed the Kursk, hinted in January that he believed the accident was caused by the explosion of a torpedo.

Several days after the accident, the Defense Ministry's official mouthpiece — Krasnya Zvezda — reported that the Kursk was re-fitted to carry new torpedoes, which "were difficult to store and dangerous to handle because the propulsion of the new torpedoes did not use expensive batteries containing silver but cheap liquid fuel."

"One cannot deny the possibility that during firing the torpedo did not leave the hatch completely and exploded inside it" the daily reported, citing an admiral who used to serve in the Northern Fleet.

Reached by telephone on Monday, a representative of Dagestan's Dagdizel plant, which designed and manufactured the propulsion system for the Shkval class torpedoes, confirmed that a torpedo was to have been test fired from the Kursk. He insisted, however, that the torpedo was "a regular one" and called allegations that this torpedo caused the catastrophe "delirious."

The federal government and the Brussels-based Kursk Foundation have selected two Dutch companies to participate in the planned lifting of the Kursk submarine in August, along with Rubin and the Norwegian branch of U.S. oil services company Halliburton.

However, the signing of a contract has been delayed because the federal government is yet to allocate its share of the some $75 million to $80 million needed to lift the submarine. Kommersant said the government's share is $25 million.

The Federation Council voted last week to inquire why the money has not been allocated, warning that further delays could hold up the operation.