When the story first broke yesterday that fourteen seaman aboard a Russian submarine died when a fire broke out while in Russian territorial waters in the Arctic region, there were conflicting accounts over the nature of the underwater vessel, specifically, whether it was a deep-sea research submersible or whether it was a nuclear powered submarine. Speculation was fueled further when the fact that many among the deceased were high ranking naval officers was revealed— unusual for a mere underwater "research" vessel.
Russian President Putin has now confirmed it was indeed a nuclear-powered submarine after officials declined to reveal even the most basic details, citing its "secret mission". As CBS reports:
Putin met Thursday with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had returned from the Navy's Arctic base of Severomorsk, and asked him about the submersible's nuclear reactor. Shoigu said the reactor is "completely isolated now" and it is "in full working order."
The blaze has been identified as starting in the sub's battery compartment and spreading from there, causing 14 crewmen to succumb to smoke inhalation, while an undisclosed number survived. Norwegian officials had also previously reported that they have discovered no unusual levels of radiation near the accident.