Russia's defense minister said on Tuesday he hoped NATO and Moscow could agree on coordinating efforts to save submarine crews - but he carefully avoided pointing the finger of blame at the West for the Kursk disaster.
It was reported that the minister would, later this week, discuss a bilateral agreement with the U.K. on ways to avoid submarine accidents.
Russia has yet to say what caused the sinking of Russian nuclear
-powered attack submarine Kursk, in which all 118 sailors aboard died, but officials have said a collision with a foreign submarine seems to be the most likely explanation.
The minister did not specifically refer to the Kursk but said: "Today the problem of saving crews from submarines which have been in accidents is topical. The views of Russia and NATO on this question and on how to agree on it almost coincide and we hope for balanced cooperation in this area."