An unnamed high-ranking Russian officer, speaking on Monday at the funerals of 14 sailors who died in the nuclear submarine disaster last week, said they had prevented a much bigger tragedy. He paid tribute to their heroism: “Today we are seeing off the crew of a research deep water apparatus, who died while performing a combat mission in the cold waters of the Barents Sea. Fourteen dead, 14 lives,” he is quoted as saying. “At the cost of their lives, they saved the lives of their comrades, saved the ship, did not allow a planetary catastrophe.” The officer did not reveal what exactly occurred or what major incident was averted. They were buried in Serafimov cemetery near the monument to the 118 Russiana killed when the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in 2000.