According to the exchange in an emergency meeting between Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, seven Russian Navy Captains are among the dead after an incident involving the Losharik (AC-12), a nuclear powered deep sea research and special operations submarine.
The exchange as reported by The Kremlin:
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, go ahead please.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President,
As we reported to you yesterday, a fire occurred aboard a deep-water research submersible in the Northern Fleet, which was carrying out seabed research in Russian territorial waters in the Barents Sea. Fourteen crew members died of smoke inhalation.
The crew extinguished the fire through their decisive action. At present, the deep water submersible is at the Severomorsk Navy Base. It is being inspected to establish the cause of the accident. A commission headed by Navy Admiral Yevmenov has been appointed to investigate this tragedy.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, this is an unusual vessel. We both know that this is a research vessel with a highly professional crew. From your preliminary reports, of the 14 killed, seven were captains and two were Heroes of Russia. This is a huge loss for the fleet and the military in general.
I would like to convey my most sincere condolences to the families of the dead. We must do everything we can to provide assistance and support for them.
I would like to ask you to leave for Severomorsk to personally review the reports and make sure the commission reveals the cause of this tragedy by any means necessary. Please report to me personally on this issue upon your return.
Sergei Shoigu: Yes, sir.
The incident is possibly the cause for Vice President Pence’s abrupt and unexplained cancelling of a campaign rally in New Hampshire and immediate recall to Washington.
Having that many high value targets in one location is either incredibly stupid or incredibly smart, depending upon the goal. Since we know the Russians are definitely not the former, it is curious as to why that number of experienced Naval Officers would be in one spot. Or why a conversation between the Defense Minister and President would be published.
It is important to note the Chinese have publicly acknowledged the testing of the JL-3 Missile, capable of being launched while submerged from the Type 096 submarine. This a capability only the US previously had and represents a new threat to the US mainland. We have no way of knowing if those Captains have been recovered, or what the sub was doing prior to the ‘incident’. But again, that many experienced naval officers on a vessel of that type is highly unusual.
Coupled with the Cloudfare outage earlier today (and continued, sporadic major outages), its a constant reminder that the world is an unstable place. Train accordingly.