THE KURSK HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE RIGHT

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Vyacheslav Gudkov Kommersant, September 28, 2001, p. 3

Bellona’s representatives said that allegations that the first compartment of the Kursk submarine is damaged badly are not convincing. According to them the Russian leadership wants to conceal the cause of the shipwreck.

The final phase of the Kursk operation has begun in the Barents Sea. Divers have finished operations on the seabed, and the Giant barge has anchored above the submarine. Meanwhile, the ecological movement Bellona has criticized the operation in Murmansk.

The longest phase of the operation as a result of which divers have cut off the first compartment of the submarine and prepared technological holes has ended. The Giant barge has arrived in the site of the operation. The barge will be anchored exactly above the submarine by means of a satellite positioning system. Then the last preparations for the raising of the submarine will begin.

The schedule of the operation will again be changed. This decision was made by Mikhail Motsak, Chief of the Staff of the Northern Fleet, Vladimir Kuroedov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, and Gennady Verich, Chair of the diving group. The schedule will be changed because of bad weather on September 30. The Giant will not be able to raise the submarine in a storm. It is very likely that the operation will not start until October 1.

A press conference dedicated to ecological aspects of the Kursk operation was held in the Murmansk international press center on September 27. Representatives of the Russian Meteorological Agency and Murmansk Biological Institute did not say anything new. Meanwhile, a press conference held by the international ecological organization Bellona was more interesting for journalists. (…) Representatives of this organization said that the haste of the operation in the Barents Sea is caused by political reasons. Russia did not conduct an analysis of ecological consequences of possible emergencies in the sea. Bellona’s representatives are not sure that the first compartment of the submarine has been cut off. Bellona said that: “We do not understand why Russia needed to cut off the first compartment. We consider this as an attempt to conceal the cause of the shipwreck. Allegations that the first compartment is damaged badly are not convincing.”

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