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Russian Submarine Accident: Putin Feels 'Responsible and Guilty'

Aired August 23, 2000 - 1:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have just received word from Moscow that President Putin says he now feels quote, "responsible and guilty," for the Kursk catastrophe.

CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty with this latest development, live now from Moscow -- Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Natalie, those comments came literally just this past hour from President Putin in a TV interview with Russian television. And in that interview he said that the defense minister Igor Sergeyev, the head of the Russian navy and the head of the northern fleet all had tendered their resignations the day before yesterday, that he decided not to except those resignations until all information from the investigation is in. And that investigation is going in two directions.

One, an investigation of why the accident happened in the first place, claiming 118 lives, and then also how was the rescue operation carried out. Mr. Putin said he's been urged in the past few days by people to show your strength, fire someone, arrest someone, put someone in prison. But he said that that would be the easy out. And he said the main thing is we have to get to the bottom of this and if there is someone guilty, they must be punished. But for now, the investigation goes on.

Mr. Putin has been in the hot seat for this. He had to come out and eventually say something. And obviously here is his attempt to take some of the blame on his own shoulders, but to make it very clear that although he is not at this point accepting any resignations, that possibility still is out there pending this investigation -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Jill Dougherty, live from Moscow.

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