Fourteen Russian sailors on board a deep water research sub were killed in a fire while carrying out a survey of the sea floor, the Russian defence ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
A Russian news outlet, RBC, cited an unnamed military source as saying the vessel was a nuclear-powered AS-12 deep sea submarine, but there was no official confirmation of that.
The incident took place on Monday in Russian territorial waters and the fire has been extinguished. The vessel is now at the Russian Northern Fleet's base in Severomorsk on the Barents Sea, and an investigation has been launched into the cause, agencies Interfax, RIA and TASS quoted the ministry as saying.
"Fire broke out on board a deep-water scientific research vessel that was studying the marine environment of the world ocean on behalf of the Russian navy," Interfax cited a ministry statement as saying. "Fourteen submariners died as the result of smoke inhalation."
The statement as cited by the agencies did not identify the type or model of the vessel.
President Vladimir Putin cancelled a public engagement planned for Tuesday afternoon and was to meet Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, RIA reported.