Russia claims USS Memphis hit and sunk Kursk : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Igor Sergeyev, Russian defence minister, confirmed today in Brussels the words said by Rear-Admiral Einar Skorgen, former commander of the Norwegian Northern Force.

According to the admiral, Russian anti-submarine aircrafts did pursue on August 17th a foreign submarine escaping from the site of the nuclear submarine Kursk's crash.

Admiral Skorgen also said that Russian North Fleet aircrafts got so absorbed in the pursuit they nearly violated the Norwegian air space, so Norwegian fighters made an alert takeoff. Happily, violation was avoided thanks to a talk between the Norwegian Air Force and the Russian North Fleet commanders.

On top of that, according to the admiral, there was something wrong with the US submarine Memphis entering the Norwegian port of Bergen. Moreover, wives of 12 Memphis sailors were then urgently flown from US to Norway, the aim of their arrival being kept secret.

-- (, December 08, 2000


#627, Friday, December 8, 2000 #627, Friday, December 8, 2000

Moscow in Spin Over Kursk Crash Remark


MOSCOW - Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev and local media have pounced on statements made this week by a Norwegian admiral, calling them proof that the Kursk submarine sank because of a collision with a foreign submarine.

But in his statements to Norwegian television, Admiral Einar Skorgen never said there was evidence of a crash - only evidence that the Russian military had thought that to be the cause of the disaster. And the spin subsequently given to Skorgen's words in Moscow has the Norwegian journalist who interviewed him puzzled.

According to the journalist, Oystein Bogen, Skorgen told him that on Aug. 17 and 18, the Norwegians spotted Russian surveillance planes off their coast. Concerned, Skorgen called Northern Fleet Commander Admiral Vyacheslav Popov to find out why they were there.

"Popov told me: 'There was a collision, and we were searching for a submarine that might have left the area where the collision took place,'" Skorgen said in the interview to Norway's TV2, according to Bogen.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sergeyev confirmed that surveillance planes had been searching for a submarine that may have left the scene of a crash. He also suggested that Skorgen's statements gave credence to the military's theory about a collision with a foreign sub.

"This is further proof of the legitimacy of the version of events that today remains strongest," Sergeyev said, referring to the collision theory.

Anchors on the evening news programs of NTV and RTR television also called the news "further proof of the theory that the Kursk was sunk by a foreign submarine."

But Skorgen did not see it as proof at all, and on Wednesday he reiterated his view that there is no truth to the theory.

"I still think that is propaganda for Russian internal use," he said in remarks reported by The Associated Press.

Skorgen told TV2 that Norwegian fighter jets spotted and identified four Ilyushin-38 surveillance planes flying along the coast on Aug. 17 and two more on Aug. 18.

Some Russian politicians and analysts have pointed to an American submarine that was in the area of the disaster. They say the USS Memphis was only a little damaged and was able to reach the Norwegian port of Bergen after the incident.

"The submarine must have been damaged, and that's why it took it five or six days to reach Bergen," said Valery Alexin, a former naval officer who now writes for the military newspaper Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozrenie.

"It was floating very slowly and very close to the surface, sticking to the Norwegian shoreline. That's why Sergeyev sent the surveillance planes to follow it, the Il-38 are well equipped and can do this type of surveillance."

Both Norwegian and U.S. military have confirmed that the Memphis docked at Bergen on Aug. 18, but have repeatedly said it was part of a long-planned visit.

But Interfax claimed that Skorgen also said "there was something wrong" with the Memphis when it docked in Bergen.

The Norwegian reporter who interviewed Skorgen fervently denied this. "He never said anything like that," Bogen said.

What he did say, according to Bogen, is that the Russians may have sincerely believed that a collision had caused the disaster.

-- Martin Thompson (, December 09, 2000.

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