The nuclear-powered submarine crashed in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000.
The United States has published transcripts of conversations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his United States counterpart Bill Clinton about the sinking of the Kursk submarine.
The transcripts were posted on the Clinton digital library website back in August 2019, but journalists have only now paid attention to them.
One of the conversations between the two leaders about the Kursk took place on September 6, 2000, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Clinton expressed regret over the tragedy. “When something like this happens, people all over the world imagine themselves in the shoes of the victims and their families. But I introduced myself to your place. You’ve probably faced a lot of criticism. It always happens,” the US President Bill Clinton said.
In response, Putin explained that he was faced with a choice of two evils – more and less. “Some people said that if I just put a small submarine in there and even made an attempt to save the guys, my ratings would go up. You cannot do something like that for the sake of PR,” the Russian leader added.
“But I am very afraid that something like this could happen again,” Putin stressed.
“Now you can see that the entire crew died within 60 or 90 seconds. We could not tell our relatives about this, but there was a hole in the building about two meters in size, through which the first three compartments were flooded,” the Russian president said. He admitted that during the disaster he felt powerless.
The nuclear-powered submarine K-141 Kursk crashed in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000. Then 118 people died. 23 sailors survived in the pressurized 9th compartment, but they could not be saved. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office concluded that the cause of the disaster was a torpedo explosion that occurred due to a fuel leak.
In September 2000, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Larry King for the American television channel CNN. The host asked the Russian president what had happened to the Kursk submarine. He received a very short answer to this: “She drowned.”
In July 2019, the film Kursk, co-produced by Belgium and France, was released.