RUSSIA’S only aircraft carrier has gone up in flames in the latest mysterious fire that has targeted key Russian infrastructure in recent months.
The Admiral Kuznetsov, a 305-meter-long Soviet-era warship, caught fire in a dock in Murmansk in the Arctic north-west of Russia.
Emergency services told Russian state media that 20 people had to be evacuated after the fire broke out at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk, nearly 1,000 miles north of Moscow.
The fire is believed to have started in the cabins aboard Putin’s flagship.
Russian media reported that the fire spread to a six meter area on the open deck, forcing the crew to rush and put it out.
Crime scene images show firefighting equipment surrounding the mammoth ship.
The crew is currently checking other compartments on board the ship to ensure it is safe.
Alexei Rakhmanov, the head of United Shipbuilding Corporation, which oversees the refurbishment of the aircraft carrier built in 1985, told RIA Novosti the fire broke out during repair work.
The cause of the fire on board Putin’s largest naval ship is still unknown.
It comes just two days after the months-long mammoth operation to pry the Admiral Kuznetsov from dry dock in Murmansk began.
The overhaul is not scheduled to be finally completed until 2024, by which time the ship, built in 1985, will be almost 40 years old.
Putin is said to be scrambling to get the creaking old warship back on the water while trying to prop up his stalled war effort in Ukraine.
The ship can transport up to 28 fighter jets and 17 helicopters over a length of three soccer fields.
These include Su-33 and MiG-29 aircraft, as well as Ka-52K and Ka-27 attack choppers.
It is also armed with deadly P-700 Granit missiles.
Russian state media agency TASS quoted an emergency services source on Thursday as saying the fire had been extinguished and there were “no injuries”.
Previously, Putin’s ship tracked British shores as it sailed through the English Channel en route to the Syrian coast in 2016.
The Admiral Kuznetsov previously suffered a mysterious onboard fire during an overhaul in December 2019.
Two people died and 14 were injured in the devastating fire, which also caused around $8 million in damage.
That fire came just a year after the disaster-stricken warship was struck by a falling crane.
Russia’s largest floating dry dock sank in October 2018, causing one of its 70-ton cranes to crash onto the ship’s flight deck.
The ship has been undergoing massive repairs since 2017 after being used in Putin’s brutal attacks on Syria.
Severodvinsk, where the ship is being repaired, is in remote, inhospitable northern Russia.
Access to the city of around 180,000 is restricted to foreigners, and a special pass is required to visit.
In August 2019, a nuclear accident occurred at the nearby Russian Navy Central Missile Base.
It is the latest mysterious fire to erupt in Russia in recent months, affecting vital war-related infrastructure.
In early December, a huge shopping center near Moscow exploded in a huge fire.
The mega shopping mall in Khimki burst into flames after a suspected arson attack, leaving one dead.
Just this week, a Siberian oil pipeline exploded, killing three gas workers.
The suspected sabotage attack hit the major Russian pipeline some 560 miles from Ukraine’s border in Chuvashia.
And in June, another mysterious fire engulfed Russia’s largest gas field, with a gigantic fireball visible for miles.
The cause of the fire in Urengoyskoye in the far east of Russia is still unknown.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6970356/russia-aircraft-carrier-fire-admiral-kuznetsov-murmansk/ Russia’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov on FIRE as the infamous Cold War ship spewing smoke in mysterious fire