Observers Sink Alarmist View of Submarine Search

Marko Reikop (L) interviews Mati Õun (R) and Kaido Tamm (center). (ERR)
10/22/2014 2:00 PM
Category: International

While in Sweden, reports of Russian subs have produced jitters and five days of searching, some military historians and experts think there may not be much basis to the incident.

On ETV, military historian Mati Õun said it is certain that the Dmitri Donskoi, a nuclear submarine, is not in the Baltic Sea, while former submarine crew member Kaido Tamm expressed doubt whether there was anything at all suspicious found in Swedish waters.

The speculation about the Dmitri Donskoi was aired in Swedish media Tuesday.

But the Dmitri Donskoi is a mammoth vessel, at 175 meters one of the world's biggest nuclear submarines. It was produced in the USSR from 1982-1989. The Baltic Sea would be a difficult place to hide such a sub.

Õun said a Russian submarine simply strayed due to a navigational error. "I know many Russian naval officers and they all say the same, the submarines were built in the 1980s and the equipment is so old they tend to break down." Õun said the sub was probably not stuck on the bottom. Õun did allow for the possibility that it was a spy mission.

"Russia has only two submarines in the Baltic fleet stationed in the Baltic," said Õun. Both are in Kronstadt, he said.

Tamm, also interviewed, served on a submarine from 1982-1985 when he was in the Soviet military.

Tamm said he wasn't sure there was a Russian submarine in Swedish waters and questioned, in light of defense spending cuts in Sweden, whether Russia would need to resort to such a tactic.

"In principle, we can rent a speedboat from Pirita and go over there on the surface and see everything we want to see, so why use stealth?" said Tamm.

Tamm said that accidents did happen underwater. During his time in the service, he said, he experienced fires under water and threat of sinking.


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