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DATE=8/17/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIAN SUB (L-2ND UPDATE) NUMBER=2-265587 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian officials are consulting with NATO experts in Brussels about ways to help 118 sailors trapped on board the Kursk nuclear submarine. The Russian ship sank Saturday and is lying on the bottom of the Barents Sea. Correspondent Laurie Kassman has the latest from Moscow. TEXT: Oxygen supplies aboard the stranded submarine are diminishing and so are hopes of finding any survivors. Russian navy officials had said the oxygen would run out this week but now suggest it could somehow last another seven days. British and Norwegian rescue teams are racing to the accident site but probably won't get there until Saturday. Russian attempts to save the crew so far have been aborted because of faulty equipment, bad weather and underwater currents that are pushing the diving bells off course. Russia resisted foreign offers of help for several days but now is consulting with NATO on what its experts might be able to provide. Public anger is growing over the government's inadequate response to the disaster. And, newspaper headlines are asking why President Vladimir Putin has remained mostly silent at his holiday resort on the Black Sea. A Navy spokesman says film taken of the wrecked submarine shows extensive damage from the top to the back fin. The periscope was also still up, indicating the ship sank so fast the crew did not have time to react. Experts say the evidence points to a powerful on-board explosion as the cause of the accident. There are also reports now that the ship was not carrying extra rescue equipment or oxygen supplies because it had only planned to be at sea for weekend training exercises. The Kursk was the largest and newest of Russia's nuclear fleet - the pride of the Navy. Military experts also are wondering out loud about radiation leakage from the sunken nuclear-powered submarine and its affect on the crew inside and the environment outside. So far, monitors are not picking up any contamination in the area. Russia's Prime Minister now describes the situation as almost catastrophic. (Signed) NEB/LMK/GE/KBK 17-Aug-2000 11:53 AM EDT (17-Aug-2000 1553 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .