RUSSIA’S only aircraft carrier will sink if it sails again after being hit by a mystery explosion, Ukrainian intelligence has claimed.
Vladimir Putin’s rust bucket the Admiral Kuznetsov has a troubled history with the nearly 40-year-old ship hit by several fires and fatal accidents.
The flag ship of the Russian navy burst into flames while being renovated in the port of Murmansk at the end of last year.
The blaze was latest mysterious fire to break out in Russia in recent months, which have even been blamed on the CIA and NATO ally spies.
The vessel is currently in a dry dock but the Russians want to float it to another part of the shipyard to continue repairs after the fire, Ukrainian military intelligence has claimed.
But the condition of the Admiral Kuznetsov “does not allow it to be launched” and if it puts to sea “it is highly likely that it will tip over on its side and sink”, say the Ukrainians.
READ MORE ON RUSSIA
Russia’s claim strike killed 600 is trashed as Kyiv says missiles missed target
Moment oil base goes up in flames after mystery gas pipe explosion in Ukraine
The ship is "completely filled with muddy water" meaning it "impossible to examine the ship from inside, claim Kyiv's spies.
Humiliatingly for Putin there is "not even an approximate time frame" for when his navy's flag ship could return to service.
According to one expert, this could finally spell the end for the troubled ship, which has been seen chugging through the English Channel.
The explosion is the latest mishap to hit the Cold War relic, notorious for belching out black smoke from its engines.
Most read in The Sun
Love Island signs Michelle Keegan lookalike Olivia Hawkins
Harry says he and Meghan never accused royals of racism despite Archie claim
Pregnant Jessie J breaks down in tears & says 'I can't explain how sick I feel'
We live in one of the UK's poshest villages – but it's missing crucial feature
The ship has been undergoing massive repairs since 2017 when it was deployed in Putin's savage attacks on Syria.
The carrier previously suffered another mysterious fire on board in December 2019 during the refit.
Two people died and 14 were injured in the devastating blaze which also caused around £8 million in damage.
That fire came just one year after the disaster-plagued warship was struck by a falling crane.
Russia's biggest floating dry dock sank in October 2018, causing one of its 70-ton cranes to crash onto the ship's flight deck.
And in 2009 a sailor was killed when a fire started on board the ship during a visit to Turkey.
The aircraft carrier spilled hundreds of tons of oil in the Irish Sea during a refuelling accident the same year.
As well as the fatal accidents, the ship has been dogged by humiliating technical problems.
Its engines are so unreliable that it is accompanied by a large ocean-going tug whenever it deploys, in case it breaks down.
Flaws in the water piping system mean it freezes during winter and to prevent pipes bursting, the water is turned off to most of the cabins and half the toilets don’t work.
It’s fuelled by a gloopy, tar-like fuel called Mazut, which results in black smoke spewing out of its funnel.
Naval expert H.I Sutton, who runs the Covert Shores blog, said keeping the Admiral Kuznetsov afloat was a matter of national pride for Russia but the its latest troubles could mean the end for the vessel.
“Maintaining aircraft carriers is incredibly expensive,” he told The Sun Online.
“Given Russia’s financial challenges it is likely to become harder to complete work on her and return her to active service.
“And even if she is, work on replacing her is already way behind what should be expected.
“There is a serious question mark over Russia’s continuing ability to maintain its largest warships.
“These are a matter of national pride, but they are increasingly outdated, as the sinking of the Moskva showed.
“So this could be the end of the road for Russia’s legacy Cold War super-fleet. The future Russian surface fleet looks smaller and made up of smaller ships.”
Peter Roberts, a naval expert from Royal United Services Institute, said the ship appears to be cursed.
“In naval folklore, there’s something called an unlucky ship and Kuznetsov is undoubtedly an unlucky ship,” said the former Royal Navy officer.
“Kuznetsov is one of those that has things going wrong through design and just through luck. In any case, not a ship you’d want to be on.”
Read More on The Sun
I worked at Yankee Candle – many don’t know our ‘jar for jar’ policy
Love Island’s first ever ‘blind’ contestant Ron Hall unveiled
Source: Read Full Article