Russian Lawyers Suspect
US Sub 'Memphis' Of
Ramming Kursk
MOSCOW - Two lawmakers said Thursday that Moscow should ask to inspect a U.S. submarine they believe hit and sank the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk for signs of a collision.
Some Russian officials have said they believe the Kursk's sinking on Aug. 12 was caused by a collision with another vessel, probably a foreign submarine. All 118 sailors aboard the Kursk were killed.
Government officials have refrained from faulting any specific vessel and the United States and Britain have denied their vessels were involved.
But nationalist lawmaker Alexei Mitrofanov and the deputy chief of the parliamentary defense committee Nikolai Bezborodov said Thursday that they suspect the USS Memphis was to blame.
Two American attack submarine were monitoring Russian navy exercises in the Barents Sea when the Kursk went down, but Mitrofanov did not say why he had singled out the Memphis.
Mitrofanov said Russia should appeal to President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress to allow an "external examination" of the Memphis.
Mitrofanov and Bezborodov asked the Duma's governing body Thursday to put their draft appeal to the United States on the chamber's agenda, but the request was denied. The two lawmakers say they now plan to ask the lower house of parliament directly to consider the motion.
Other possible explanations of the Kursk disaster that the Russians have considered include a collision with a World War II mine or an explosion of the Kursk's own torpedoes.
Sergei Zhekov, a former submariner who is a member of the upper house of parliament, wrote in the regional newspaper Vladivostok this week that he believed the Kursk was hit by a test missile from a Russian warship, the Peter the Great, and then collided with a Russian ship.

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