Moscow, 24 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Vladimir Putin says he bears a feeling of full responsibility and guilt for the deaths of the 118 seamen aboard the "Kursk" nuclear-powered submarine. In an interview on state television, Putin also said he would not accept the resignations of military officials or punish officials until the cause of the sub's sinking becomes clear. Putin's comments came amid continuing criticism that the president failed to react quickly enough after the "Kursk" sank in the Barents Sea on August 12 after reportedly suffering two still-unexplained explosions.
Russia yesterday held an official day of mourning. A remembrance ceremony at the Murmansk naval base was canceled at the request of the lost crewmen's families, who want the bodies of the seamen to first be retrieved from the wreck.