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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Kursk mothers reject disaster report
Relatives of the Kursk victims
Relatives say they will appeal to the European Court
Relatives of the Russian sailors who died in the explosion of the Kursk nuclear submarine have expressed dismay at the findings of an official report into the causes of the disaster in August 2000.

The two-year long inquiry - which Russian TV says looked at 18 different versions of the event - ruled that a fuel leak in a defective torpedo caused the disaster and the death of 118 crew members.

The report also said that navy commanders could not be prosecuted on criminal charges either for the loss of the ship or the death of the crew as no-one could have foreseen the accident.

The chief prosecutor, Vladimir Ustinov, who presented the report, said relatives would be allowed access to the files but said the inquiry was now officially closed.


I think it was the commanding officers' fault

Galina Eparkhina

But the relatives say they are shocked no-one was directly to blame for the accident.

"The report was done in such a way to imply that the crew was responsible for the disaster," the mother of a crew member who died in the disaster, Galina Eparkhina, told Russian radio.

"We already know that a faulty torpedo is to blame. The question is why it was allowed to be on board in the first place," she said, pulling no punches in apportioning blame.

"I think it was the commanding officers' fault."

She accused the authorities of trying to silence the relatives, and remove them from the Kursk's Arctic base of Vidyayevo "so that we wouldn't ask awkward questions".

"We have become outcasts," she said, adding they had "been forgotten. Nobody is helping us".

Punishment


We are even ready to take the case to the European Court. Those who are guilty should be punished

Nadezhda Nekrasova

The relatives are now demanding that the report be re-examined and say they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The mother of another sailor, Nadezda Nekrasova, told the radio the relatives "absolutely refuse to accept the theory that the torpedo exploded spontaneously. No, this could not have happened".

She said they had turned to the Mothers' Rights foundation for help.

"We shall wait for the official report to come out and then we shall go to Moscow... We are even ready to take the case to the European Court. Those who are guilty should be punished."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

26 Jul 02 | Europe
19 Jun 02 | Europe
26 Apr 02 | Europe
23 Mar 02 | Europe
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