The only Russian aircraft carrier caught fire

The only Russian aircraft carrier caught fire

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A fire has broken out on the flagship of the Russian Navy, according to local media reports.

The fire started at Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier while docked at the Zvezdochka shipyard in the Barents Sea port city of Murmansk, located in Russia’s far northwest, TASS news agency reported.

An emergency services source told the agency on Thursday morning that 20 people had been evacuated, the fire had been extinguished and that “there were no casualties”.

Alexei Rakhmanov, head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), which is leading the ship’s repairs, told RIA Novosti that the accident occurred during repair work.

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is pictured in the northern Russian port city of Murmansk on May 19, 2018. Russian media reported on December 22, 2022 that there was a fire on board the ship.

The Admiral Kuznetsov has been decommissioned and in dry dock for repairs since 2018.

The 43,000-ton, 1,000-foot-tall warship has a crew of 1,300 and is armed with anti-ship and anti-missile systems. In November 2022, officials said repairs were on schedule and the ship would be ready by the first quarter of 2024.

In November, Rakhmanov told reporters in Moscow that “obstacles” had been found in some sections of the ship, but that “the work is going according to schedule” and that “we will make it all happen.”

The upgrade is expected to give the ship new combat potential and extend its service life by another 10 to 15 years, Naval News reported.

The ship has been the scene of other accidents. In October 2018, Russia’s largest floating dry dock, the PD-50, sank, causing one of its 70-ton cranes to crash on the ship’s flight deckcausing a large hole.

In December 2019, two crew members died and more than a dozen were injured after a fire started in the hold, which also caused an estimated $8 million in damage.

The ship’s repair project is also plagued by corruption. In March 2021, the general director of the shipyard that oversaw the repairs was arrested for embezzling funds totaling 45 million rubles ($606,300), TASS reported.

Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine were struck a big blow after the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet Moscow sank in April after being attacked by Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine said it hit the ship with Neptune missiles, causing it to sink with the loss of up to 250 sailors. Russia has denied the Ukrainian version of events, saying the ship sank after a fire on board detonated munitions.

Newsweek USC has been contacted for comment.

Update 12/22/22, 6:39am ET: This article has been updated with additional information and a new headline.

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