INTERNATIONAL

Russia builds world's deepest submarine

MOSCOW AUG. 10. Russia has built the world's deepest and most silent nuclear submarine.

The Project 210 submarine, nicknamed `Losharik' for its spherical shapes resembling a popular Russian cartoon film character, hit water at the Severodvinsk shipyad in the Barents Sea about a week ago, the Izvestia daily reported.

It is a top-secret project and few details are available about its characteristics apart from the fact that it can sail at a depth of over 6,000 metres and is the most silent and hard-to-detect submarine in the Russian Navy.

"At certain speeds the submarine becomes practically invisible to enemy sonars and can carry out missions in any part of the world ocean," the paper said.

The new submarine is designed for "special operations" and can also rescue crews of other submarines at great depths.

Construction of Project 210 was launched before the break-up of the Soviet Union, but was later freezed for lack of funding, and resumed only after the President, Vladimir Putin, came to power in 2000.

He assigned high priority to the task of reviving the Russian submarine fleet as a major component of the defence potential.

Two years ago the Russian Navy inducted its first nuclear submarine, Gepard (Cheetah in Russian), after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and embarked on the rearmament of older submarines with the new long-range nuclear missile, Bulava-30.

Since 2001, Russia has also resumed global patrolling of the world ocean by its nuclear submarines.

Blast

AP reports:

A canister containing an alkaline substance exploded on a tram in the Russian capital today, injuring at least five people, Moscow police said.

The injured were being treated for chemical and acid injuries, Interfax said, citing unidentified police officers at the scene.