Incidents » Conflicts

Italian media concerned about Soviet torpedoes in the Mediterranean

Pravda.ru once reported on the articles rife with speculation and bias regarding the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk that were published by Italian newspaper La Stampa.  Lately Esspresso, an Italian magazine, has put out a story about 20 torpedoes allegedly dropped onto the seabed a few miles away of the port of Naples by a Soviet sub back in 1970.

The report says that “a Soviet nuclear submarine (probably of “November” class, built in Severodvinsk in 1963), assigned to the 5th Mediterranean squadron of the Soviet Navy, a unit under command of GRU (the Chief Intelligence of the Soviet General Staff) and Navy intelligence, placed an unknown number of tactical nuclear torpedoes at the bottom of Naples Bay. It can be assumed that the submarine had 24 nuclear torpedoes on board.”

The allegations were promptly denied by assistant to Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy Igor Dygalo, a spokesman for the Russian Navy, who was quoted as saying: “On behalf the Headquarters of the Russian Navy I hereby deny the allegations contained in the report. The above allegations are absolutely groundless and therefore should be regarded as pure speculation aimed at building tension between Russia and Italy.”

One may wonder why the Italians (Italy is a member of NATO, by the bye) are so keen to annoy the Russian Navy. A Russian admiral (retired), an authority on the Soviet submarine force, believes that reports like that are mostly published to obtain bits and pieces of valuable information that can be leaked to the West by our military vehemently denying them time and again. Speaking to the author of this article yesterday, the admiral said that Soviet submariness of the 627 project (the Italian sources apparently refer to subs of that type) had NO equipment for placing mines in 1970. The admiral claimed that crews of the Soviet nuclear submarines had not been trained to conduct massive mining operations. Simply because they did not have to. That is the admiral’s point of view. Incidentally, he has a great sense of humor. He even suggested that all the classified manuals of the Soviet Navy be translated into Italian and handed over to the Italian Navy and their NATO allies. He said that the move would save them from a confusing terminology and they would probably stop creating controversy by accusing our Navy.

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