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Peter the Great ordered back to port

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A nuclear-powered Russian warship has been ordered back to port amid fears that it "could go sky high at any minute".

That, at least, is in the opinion of Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov who said of the Peter the Great: "In those places on board where the admirals actually go, everything's fine, but where they don't go, everything's in such a state it could go sky high at any minute. And by that I also mean the state of the nuclear reactor."

Kuroyedov made the decision to dispatch the flagship of Russia's northern fleet back to port for immediate repairs last Wednesday, during exercises in the Barents Sea.

However, commentators speculate that there might be more to this decision than pure safety. Some have noted that the move is likely to be an attack on the ship's captain - Rear-Admiral Vladimir Kasatonov - who apparently criticised Kuroyedov during a hearing into the accidental sinking of a nuclear sub last year.

Stephen Saunders of Jane's Fighting Ships, told the BBC that: "Admiral Kuroyedov's decision was probably based on a number of factors, including a desire to shore up discipline in the navy by giving a public reprimand to one of its premier ships.

"There was quite likely also something genuinely wrong with the ship, but the fact that the captain had been given two weeks to bring it up to scratch suggested this was not serious or nuclear-related."

We sincerely hope so, because Russian nuclear warships exploding is generally considered a bad thing. ®

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