Russian Navy Claims ‘Exercise.’ But Video Shows What Looks Like a Submarine on Fire

Government officials are claiming that footage showing what appears to be a submarine on fire was just a “damage control exercise,” but images show that the blaze is incredibly close to the vessel, leaving many with doubts in regards to the official statements, particular as video of the incident spread on social media.

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The videos were recorded in the city of Vladivostok in Russia, showing dramatic flames and thick, black smoke near one of the five Russian Navy submarines moored at the location.

Government officials with the Russian Pacific Fleet have claimed that the blaze was part of “damage control exercises,” though the proximity of the fire to one of the vessel’s sterns has many questioning the validity of the statement.

According to a report by Popular Mechanics, the submarine involved appears to be a Kilo-class diesel-electric attack vessel. Kilos have played a substantial role in Russia’s non-nuclear submarine fleet since the 1980s, and the Pacific Fleet currently operates six Kilos and Improved Kilos, some of which have been used to launch missiles at targets in Syria based on positions in the Black Sea.

Based on the footage, it isn’t entirely clear which sub is involved.

Multiple other countries also operate Russian submarines, including China, India, Iran, and Vietnam.

One such vessel, the INS Sindhurakshak, which was functioning as part of the Indian Navy, sank in 2013 after a fire erupted in the forward weapons bay, triggering a series of explosions as the torpedoes and cruise missile warheads were exposed to the high heat and flames. The incident led to the deaths o 18 sailors and the vessel was deemed unrecoverable.

While it is possible the fire began as part of an exercise, it could have gotten out of control, leading to an actual emergency.