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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST HOSTED BY HUW EDWARDS INTERVIEW
VLADIMIR ANDREYEV AUGUST 20TH, 2000

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

HUW EDWARDS
Relatives of the submarine's 118 crew are still arriving in the port after long journeys from different parts of Russia, all of them of course hoping for some kind of miraculous news despite the warnings we've had from senior Russian officers and others that the chances of survival are virtually nil. Many of the relatives are angry, they say, about the delay in asking other countries to help with the rescue mission, with us in the studio now is the Chief Spokesman for the Russian Embassy in London Vladimir Andreyev. Good morning to you.

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Good morning.

HUW EDWARDS
It's very, very sad news this morning, isn't it, from Murmansk?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Yes but there is still hope and like every Russian and I think and like our foreign partners we are still hoping for some miracle. Problem miracle based on some technical skills of our British partners and Norwegian partners, we are very grateful for them offering this help and providing this help, probably some of the elements of this, technical elements of this, their resources could make the difference and finally the hope is still there.

HUW EDWARDS
There is hope but it's very, it's very, very small isn't it?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Unfortunately yes.

HUW EDWARDS
Are you very, very hurt by some of the suggestions made that the Russian government has been irresponsibly slow to ask for help in this rescue mission, is that, do those allegations hurt you?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Of course I'm hurt, it's, it's, those are, I would call this, this kind of allegations jumping to, to far-reaching conclusions on, without any reason because well from the very beginning the main, the most important fact about all this situation and all this operation is that the rescue operation began right after the first signal about the, some kind of trouble with this ship and there was this first great result of this rescue operation, they found this sub just four hours after, after the first signal. And since then the, the operation has been developing, well with our own resources and they're important enough.

HUW EDWARDS
Was it not apparent early on to you that the resources you had were not sufficient or maybe not advanced enough in the very difficult circumstances of this tragedy and that with hindsight today you might be able to say, well yes maybe we might have called somebody in a couple of days before we did?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Difficult question, but you know this was a responsible decision taken by, not by politicians, by experts who, who possessed necessary knowledge and know how, how to deal with this situation. I mean Russian Navy and specialists who know very much about submarine fleet and about the dangers and the procedures to save ships in such circumstances. It's not up to the politicians or to, to anyone else to, to judge on the basis of insight or anything else.

HUW EDWARDS
Precisely and the people you are talking about are understandably proud about their tradition and their tradition of naval operations and some people have been suggesting that their pride has got in the way of their rational judgement and that they were too proud to ask for help?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
No, nonsense. The only top priority for everyone, for bureaucrats and for sailors, seamen of course was to save people from this sub, all other allegations about national pride, it's not the reason to, to, to use this, this notions in these circumstances. No the only and top priority was to save people from the very beginning and 'til now and the operation will continue 'til the end so the hope still exists.

HUW EDWARDS
Are you concerned at all that this might have, this whole episode might have damaged President Putin politically, that he's been see to be maybe not as keen to return to his duties from holiday as he might have been in view of the seriousness of the accident?

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
The, the President explained why he, he did it, on Friday and I, I accept his, his explanation as, and the majority of the Russians will accept this explanation because the main and most important factor about all this operation is that the rescue operation began from the very start of this, of this accident, that's the main fact and if you remember about this fact then all other elements dealing with PR problems, some mistakes by this or that spokesman, they can be forgiven and forget, forgotten if you remember that the operation has been developing since the very start and using all the possible resources┐it was a technical decision not political, it has nothing to do with the quality of the Russian democracy.

HUW EDWARDS
Mr Andreyev thank you very much for coming in to talk to us this morning.

VLADIMIR ANDREYEV
Thank you.

HUW EDWARDS
Many thanks. END

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