Military prosecutors in Russia have charged a naval commander with criminal negligence during this month's rescue of a submarine crew stranded in the Pacific, off the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Prosecutors began criminal proceedings against the unidentified officer Monday in Vladivostok, headquarters of Russia's Pacific Fleet.
The seven men aboard the stranded submarine were brought to the surface unhurt August 7, but Russian authorities say an investigation found that the captain's "unprofessional actions" delayed the rescue and added greatly to the cost of the operation.
The Russian officer was blamed for damaging an underwater vehicle that could have been used to rescue the seven men much more quickly. A British robot device eventually was used to cut cables and netting that had trapped the Russian vessel nearly 200 meters below the surface for three days. The crew members were brought to the surface just a few hours before their air supply ran out.
Lawmakers in Moscow have asked why the Russian navy was unable to carry out the rescue without foreign assistance.