Deputy Commander of the Northern Fleet Vice Admiral Aleksander Vitko says that the submarine was brought into dock outside Murmansk without having the weapons removed first.
- I returned from duty [note: as Commander of Northern Fleet’s mission to the Mediterranean] on the 16 of February, but I know for sure that the “Yekaterinburg” had weapons on board”, Vitko said to Lifenews. “I don’t know what politics the Command has right now, so I will not comment any further”.
Immediately after the fire broke out Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that all weapons had been unloaded from the submarine before she was taken into the dry dock for repair. Earlier this month Kommersant reported that the fire could have developed into the worst anthropogenic catastrophe since Chernobyl, as the submarine had up to 16 intercontinental “Sineva” missiles, each carrying four nuclear warheads, and 12 torpedoes on board when the fire broke out, as BarentsObserver wrote.
Massive flames coming out of the cut in the hull on the port side of the submarine. Photo republished with permission from Blogger51.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre last week instructed the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow to hand over a inquiry to Russian authorities to get an answer on whether or not the submarine did have nuclear weapons. “It is a clear obligation in the warning agreement between Norway and Russia from 1993, to have full openness about such events when they happen, ”Støre said.
According to the first official reports from the accident the fire only harmed the outer rubber coating of the submarine. Soon pictures and videos began appearing on blogs and social media that showed the fire was far more severe than the officials said.
According to Lifenews the firefighters that were sent in to put out the fire were not even informed that the submarine had torpedoes on board. Torpedo fuel is highly flammable and extremely toxic.