UPDATED: Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre has demanded Russian authorities clarify events surrounding the 'Yekaterinburg'.
"Norway's Moscow embassy will ask Russian authorities for an explanation as to whether there were weapons aboard the submarine that burned on 29.12," he tweeted on his Twitter account.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has indirectly confessed the Delta-class submarine involved in the fire did have weapons on board, news agency ITAR-TASS reports.
He told reporters, “It was a gross violation of existing regulations for the repairs of nuclear submarines specifically with armaments onboard.”
It is still not clear whether Russian media reports confirm whether these weapons were both torpedoes as well as possible nuclear missiles it is not clear whether this is the case.
“Even though it looks almost 100 percent certain now that conventional weapons were aboard, they could still have posed a great danger because of the vessel’s two nuclear reactors,” Igor Kudrik, Bellona’s advisor on nuclear safety in Russia told Aftenposten.
The submarine was in dry dock awaiting repairs, and all weapons should have been removed from the submarine whilst there.
Organisation Bellona fears that the weapons were left on board to allow the 'Yekaterinburg' to return to duty as soon as possible.
Leader Frederic Hauge is concerned the fire could have had extreme and wide-spread consequences for both Russia and Norway.
Had there been a danger of nuclear explosion Russia should have evacuated huge portions of the Kola Peninsula, which would have affected huddreds of thousands – Russia ignored this,” Bellona reports him as alleging.
“We're talking about a very serious incident only 200 kilometers from the Norwegian border. At worst, it could have meant radioactive emissions reaching Norway in two hours.”
Mr Hauge has now called for both countries’ authorities act following the organisation’s examination of documentation relating to the fire.
“We think there are so many serious issues that we are now asking Norwegian authorities require an official response from Russia as to whether there really were nuclear weapons on board. This statement by Rogozin makes clear that [international] notification procedures did not work.”
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