VLADIMIR Putin last night called an urgent meeting with defence chiefs after 14 sailors died in a mystery submarine blast.
The Russian leader cleared his schedule for a meeting with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu following the tragedy.
It came as US Vice President Mike Pence was called back to Washington for an "undisclosed emergency".
The announcements came at exactly the same time but it is not clear if the two are linked.
The White House and the Kremlin would not say the reason for the change of plans.
The fire on board a Russian submarine left 14 dead after they were poisoned by fumes.
It has now been reported the vessel was a type of nuclear-powered submarine whose designs and capabilities have been the subject of speculation and interest in the West for years.
Numerous Russian outlets say the craft was an AS-12 submarine, capable of diving to an estimated 6,100 as well as attaching itself to the belly of larger subs to avoid detection, RFERL reports.
The AS-12, nicknamed Losharik, has been described by the Pentagon as a "sabotage vehicle" capable of destroying underwater communications cables.
Norwegian authorities said on Tuesday they had not detected abnormally high levels of radiation in the area.
He said Russian officials had told his agency that a gas explosion took place on board the submarine.
Russia denied this piece of information later on Tuesday.