Russian National Guard line the streets of St Petersburg as the coffins of elite ‘hydronauts’ arrive

The Russian National Guard lined the streets of St Petersburg as the coffins of 14 elite officers who were killed in a fire on board a nuclear powered submarine made their way through the city. 

A convoy of minibuses carrying the coffins of the officers, known as ‘hydronauts’, made its way to private funerals for close friends, family and their comrades at Serafimovskoye cemetery on Saturday.

The officers, were members of a top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz, died after a fire broke on board the AS-12 nicknamed Losharik on July 1 in the Barents Sea. 

There was a heavy security, with military police standing outside the cemetery gates as navy serviceman and mourners were seen making their way to the memorial service carrying floral arrangements. 

There were emotional scenes from the family, close friends and comrades of the 14 elite officers who were killed in a fire on board a nuclear powered submarine attended the private funerals on Saturday

There were emotional scenes from the family, close friends and comrades of the 14 elite officers who were killed in a fire on board a nuclear powered submarine attended the private funerals on Saturday

There were emotional scenes from the family, close friends and comrades of the 14 elite officers who were killed in a fire on board a nuclear powered submarine attended the private funerals on Saturday

There was also emotional scenes outside the cemetery as grieving officers comforted each other. 

Moscow has said the crew was studying the sea floor and that the details of the tragedy are a ‘state secret’.  

But Russian media have reported that the ship was a top-secret nuclear-powered mini-submarine. 

The defence ministry confirmed the vessel was nuclear-powered for the first time on Friday. 

The service, which was closed off to the media, was protected under heavy security, with military police standing outside the cemetery gates.

‘You have to understand that the identities of most of the people who gathered here are secret and their faces cannot be shown,’ a representative of the defence ministry told AFP.

The 'hydronauts', were members of a top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz, died after a fire broke on board the AS-12 nicknamed Losharik (pictured) on July 1 in the Barents Sea

The 'hydronauts', were members of a top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz, died after a fire broke on board the AS-12 nicknamed Losharik (pictured) on July 1 in the Barents Sea

The ‘hydronauts’, were members of a top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz, died after a fire broke on board the AS-12 nicknamed Losharik (pictured) on July 1 in the Barents Sea

Serviceman were also seen making their way to the funeral to honour the top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz

Serviceman were also seen making their way to the funeral to honour the top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz

Serviceman were also seen making their way to the funeral to honour the top secret underwater intelligence service called the deep-sea Spetsnaz

A woman holding floral tributes crosses the road as the convoy of minibuses carrying the coffins of the officers makes its way to private funerals at St Petersburg Serafimovskoye cemetery

A woman holding floral tributes crosses the road as the convoy of minibuses carrying the coffins of the officers makes its way to private funerals at St Petersburg Serafimovskoye cemetery

A woman holding floral tributes crosses the road as the convoy of minibuses carrying the coffins of the officers makes its way to private funerals at St Petersburg Serafimovskoye cemetery

Later, there was a military salute and the Russian national anthem heard.

Dmitry Razmyslov, 38, attended the funeral to pay his respects to one of the seamen – Dmitry Solovyev – with whom he studied at a military academy in the late 1980s. 

The Russian defence ministry said Solovyev acted heroically during the accident, evacuating a civilian and closing the vessel’s hatch to halt spreading flames. 

Reports say Solovyev rescued a ‘civilian expert’ on board the submarine.

The civilian left the burning section of the vessel and the crew member shut the hatch behind him and stayed in alongside other crew members ‘fighting to save the vessel’, said the defence ministry.

Solovyev leaves behind a pregnant wife and three year old son, say reports. 

Naval officers attend the private funerals to pay tribute to their fallen comrades

Naval officers attend the private funerals to pay tribute to their fallen comrades

Naval officers attend the private funerals to pay tribute to their fallen comrades 

The Navy officers are seen making their way into the cemetery to pay their respects

The Navy officers are seen making their way into the cemetery to pay their respects

The Navy officers are seen making their way into the cemetery to pay their respects 

Russia has made clear full details of the latest submarine loss, that claimed the lives of 14 elite officers, will not be made public for national security reasons

Russia has made clear full details of the latest submarine loss, that claimed the lives of 14 elite officers, will not be made public for national security reasons

Russia has made clear full details of the latest submarine loss, that claimed the lives of 14 elite officers, will not be made public for national security reasons

A young woman clad in black and holding a wreath that read ‘from friends and classmates at the ceremony said: ‘This is a great sorrow’. 

Some ordinary Saint Petersburg residents came to the cemetery’s gates to pay their respects including 60-year old Natalya Stepanova who said: ‘I feel so sorry for them, like they were my own (family)’.

She added ‘They are real heroes’. 

Nearly all of the victims were highly decorated officers and included seven Captain First Rank officers – the most senior staff officers in the Russian navy.

Experts have said that the presence of many high-ranking officers on board could suggest the submarine was not on an ordinary assignment. 

Emotional mourners seen outside Serafimovskoye cemetery

Emotional mourners seen outside Serafimovskoye cemetery

Emotional mourners seen outside Serafimovskoye cemetery

Two officers from the Russian Navy bring rose standing sprays to the private service for the funerals of the 14 elite officers

Two officers from the Russian Navy bring rose standing sprays to the private service for the funerals of the 14 elite officers

Two officers from the Russian Navy bring rose standing sprays to the private service for the funerals of the 14 elite officers

More servicemen from the Russian Navy arrive for the private service for the 14 Russian Navy officers killed in the submarine fire in the Barents Sea

More servicemen from the Russian Navy arrive for the private service for the 14 Russian Navy officers killed in the submarine fire in the Barents Sea

More servicemen from the Russian Navy arrive for the private service for the 14 Russian Navy officers killed in the submarine fire in the Barents Sea

On Friday, the defence ministry said the fire started in the submersible’s battery compartment and did not impact the vessel’s nuclear reactor.

Nearly all of the victims were highly decorated officers and included seven Captain First Rank officers – the most senior staff officers in the Russian navy. 

Moscow military analyst Colonel Viktor Baranets revealed that the fire broke out after some kind of ‘explosion’ while the vessel was almost 1,000ft underwater. 

Writing for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, he said the high-ranking sailors battled for an hour and a half to bring the blaze under control. 

The blaze was so hot that crew members ‘had no time to use special breathing devices’.

Russian Federal National Guard are seen arriving at the funeral. Moscow military analyst Colonel Viktor Baranets revealed that the fire broke out after some kind of 'explosion' while the vessel was almost 1,000ft underwater. He said the high-ranking sailors battled for an hour and a half to bring the blaze under control

Russian Federal National Guard are seen arriving at the funeral. Moscow military analyst Colonel Viktor Baranets revealed that the fire broke out after some kind of 'explosion' while the vessel was almost 1,000ft underwater. He said the high-ranking sailors battled for an hour and a half to bring the blaze under control

Russian Federal National Guard are seen arriving at the funeral. Moscow military analyst Colonel Viktor Baranets revealed that the fire broke out after some kind of ‘explosion’ while the vessel was almost 1,000ft underwater. He said the high-ranking sailors battled for an hour and a half to bring the blaze under control

Russian Federal National Guard stand in line ahead of the convoy of minibuses carrying the 14 dead officers

Russian Federal National Guard stand in line ahead of the convoy of minibuses carrying the 14 dead officers

Russian Federal National Guard stand in line ahead of the convoy of minibuses carrying the 14 dead officers 

Despite this the ‘selfless, decisive actions of the crew saved the submarine and ensured it was tugged to Severomorsk military base’.

The nuclear power unit on board was not damaged by the inferno and no leakage occurred, it is reported.

The blaze, which was not reported by the Kremlin until 24 hours later, is a set back for the top secret operations service who relied on the skills of the highly qualified team for deep sea research, according to The Times

Losharik is like a submerged laboratory with data gathering equipment for the ocean and advanced systems capable of spying of foreign submarines and underwater communications, the publication reported.

President Vladimir Putin’s plans, as reported by the Pentagon white paper, are to turn the Arctic in an energy and minerals resource for Russia and to control sea routes, giving Moscow power in the region. 

Naval servicemen bring floral tributes for comrades who died in the submarine fire. A fishermen who was the stricken submarine surface around 9.30pm on Monday told local media: 'On the deck, people were running, scurrying around'

Naval servicemen bring floral tributes for comrades who died in the submarine fire. A fishermen who was the stricken submarine surface around 9.30pm on Monday told local media: 'On the deck, people were running, scurrying around'

Naval servicemen bring floral tributes for comrades who died in the submarine fire. A fishermen who was the stricken submarine surface around 9.30pm on Monday told local media: ‘On the deck, people were running, scurrying around’

Russian servicemen stand guard at the front of Serafimovskoye cemetery on Saturday ahead of the private funerals

Russian servicemen stand guard at the front of Serafimovskoye cemetery on Saturday ahead of the private funerals

Russian servicemen stand guard at the front of Serafimovskoye cemetery on Saturday ahead of the private funerals 

On July 1 the crew of a fishing boat witnessed a stricken Russian submarine make an emergency ascent right in front of them after it caught fire. 

The fishermen were sailing towards Kildin Island, in the Barents Sea, when they claimed to have seen the submarine surface around 9.30pm on Monday.

One crew member, who spoke anonymously because they were fishing illegally, described how men were running around on deck before a warship and two tugboats quickly pulled up alongside the submarine.

Speaking to SeverPost, the man said: ‘We were moving towards Kildin in the evening, and here, around 9.30pm, a submarine pops up.

‘It came up completely. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. On the deck, people were running, scurrying around.’ 

Two mourners are seen arriving at the private service with a bouquet of roses. President Putin bestowed top state honours on all of the men - including four who were given the Hero of Russia, the country's most prestigious honour

Two mourners are seen arriving at the private service with a bouquet of roses. President Putin bestowed top state honours on all of the men - including four who were given the Hero of Russia, the country's most prestigious honour

Two mourners are seen arriving at the private service with a bouquet of roses. President Putin bestowed top state honours on all of the men – including four who were given the Hero of Russia, the country’s most prestigious honour

Another mourner brings a colourful tribute of an anchor to represent the navy. The other ten officer will be posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. The blaze, which was not reported by the Kremlin until 24 hours later, is a set back for the top secret operations service who relied on the skills of the highly qualified team for deep sea research, according to The Times

Another mourner brings a colourful tribute of an anchor to represent the navy. The other ten officer will be posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. The blaze, which was not reported by the Kremlin until 24 hours later, is a set back for the top secret operations service who relied on the skills of the highly qualified team for deep sea research, according to The Times

Another mourner brings a colourful tribute of an anchor to represent the navy. The other ten officer will be posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. The blaze, which was not reported by the Kremlin until 24 hours later, is a set back for the top secret operations service who relied on the skills of the highly qualified team for deep sea research, according to The Times

Another floral tribute outside Serafimovskoye cemetery. The submarine, called the Losharik, is like a submerged laboratory with data gathering equipment capable of spying of foreign submarines and underwater communications. Putin's plans is to turn the Arctic into an energy resource for Russia and control sea routes, giving Moscow power in the region

Another floral tribute outside Serafimovskoye cemetery. The submarine, called the Losharik, is like a submerged laboratory with data gathering equipment capable of spying of foreign submarines and underwater communications. Putin's plans is to turn the Arctic into an energy resource for Russia and control sea routes, giving Moscow power in the region

Another floral tribute outside Serafimovskoye cemetery. The submarine, called the Losharik, is like a submerged laboratory with data gathering equipment capable of spying of foreign submarines and underwater communications. Putin’s plans is to turn the Arctic into an energy resource for Russia and control sea routes, giving Moscow power in the region

Pulling into an isolated bay, the crew of the fishing boat watched the rescue operation for around an hour and a half until the rescue boats moved away.

The fisherman added that the submarine moved away quickly, apparently under its own power, and they did not see any smoke.

The submarine and its escort sailed into the nearby Kola Bay towards Severomorsk, where it is currently docked.

It was only later that the fishermen heard that bodies had been brought ashore.  

In total 14 submariners died in the fire, which Moscow says started in a battery compartment before quickly spreading. 

Russia has named the men who died in the accident, but otherwise the accident has been cloaked in secrecy. 

President Putin also bestowed top state honours on all of the men – including four who were given the Hero of Russia, the country’s most prestigious honour.

The fisherman who saw the submarine said they didn't see any smoke, and only learned later about the fire and the fact that 14 submariners (pictured) had died

The fisherman who saw the submarine said they didn't see any smoke, and only learned later about the fire and the fact that 14 submariners (pictured) had died

The fisherman who saw the submarine said they didn’t see any smoke, and only learned later about the fire and the fact that 14 submariners (pictured) had died 

After around an hour and a half the crew said the submarine seemed to move away under its own power towards the port of Severomorsk (pictured, Putin at the port in 2014)

After around an hour and a half the crew said the submarine seemed to move away under its own power towards the port of Severomorsk (pictured, Putin at the port in 2014)

After around an hour and a half the crew said the submarine seemed to move away under its own power towards the port of Severomorsk (pictured, Putin at the port in 2014)








The other ten men will be posthumously awarded the Order of Courage.  

‘All of them will be buried in secret, at the request of their family members,’ reported Fontanko news service.

‘Only close friends, family members and comrades will be at the funerals.’

In previous cases of major Russian national disasters, funerals have often been held in public.

The tragedy has echoes of the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000, also in the Barents Sea, that claimed 118 lives and shook the first year of Putin’s presidency.

Russian media reported that the 14 seamen will be buried near a monument to the Kursk victims in the Serafimovskoye Cemetery.

The top-secret submarine is now docked at Severomorsk, though Moscow has revealed little else (pictured, a submarine at the port on Tuesday. It is not clear if this is the submarine that caught fire)

The top-secret submarine is now docked at Severomorsk, though Moscow has revealed little else (pictured, a submarine at the port on Tuesday. It is not clear if this is the submarine that caught fire)

The top-secret submarine is now docked at Severomorsk, though Moscow has revealed little else (pictured, a submarine at the port on Tuesday. It is not clear if this is the submarine that caught fire)

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