Russian Federation submarine fire: Blaze on defence ministry vessel kills 14

Vlaidmir Putin's government said the report included "classified information" - fuelling speculation around the blaze.

NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow that the craft has been recovered and is in Severomorsk, the main base for Russia's Northern Fleet on the Arctic Ocean.

Another report says the nuclear sub's mission and status was shrouded in mystery.

The statement as cited by the agencies did not identify the type or model of the underwater vessel.

Names of members crew have not been officially released. "[It is] within the law of the Russian Federation". It seems rather unusual that such high-ranking officials would have been on a scientific mission to study the sea floor off of the northern coasts of Russian Federation and Norway, as the Defense Ministry has claimed.

Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin was informed immediately after the fire.

MYSTERY: Russia submarine believed to Losharik in a rare photo (Pic: EAST2WEST) "This is a big loss for the fleet, and in general for the army".

According to the official, the sailors of the submarine has poisoned with burning products.

The incident took place on Monday in Russian territorial waters and the fire has been extinguished.

Norway's radiation authority revealed that Russian Federation had informed it that there had been a gas explosion on board the sub - a claim denied by Moscow.

He was awarded Hero of Russia - Putin's top honour - around six years ago for "Arctic and Antarctic research works".

But Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst at the independent Russian daily Novaya Gazeta, said it was a mystery why 14 sailors died from smoke inhalation when they would have all carried oxygen masks at all times and had access to emergency on-board oxygen supplies.

Having only entered service in 2010, the Losharik is the most advanced and most obscure Russian submarine. The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that 5 sailors were being treated in Severomorsk's hospital. "Russian submarine safety has been bad since the Soviet period".

Made out of a series of inter-connected spheres, which are stronger than the conventional submarine construction and allow it to resist water pressure at great depths, Western military experts have suggested it is capable of probing and possibly even severing undersea communications cables.

Normal submarines can not sink below 600 metres (1,970 ft). It is also being said the stricken vessel was operated by the Chief Directorate for Deep Water Research (GUGI).

"The crew was highly professional". Putin said Tuesday that seven of the dead had the rank of captain and two were awarded the nation's highest medal, the Hero of Russian Federation.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday also described the submarine as "not an ordinary vessel".

Such sensitive missions required an elite crew made entirely of officers, a lot of them senior.

  • Jon Douglas