Sputnik has claimed that the sinking of Argentine submarine ARA San Juan was caused by a British deep-sea mine deployed during the Falklands War. The problem? Britain didn’t lay any mines.

Sputnik News is a successor to Russian state-owned RIA Novosti’s international branch which became defunct in 2013. The agency is wholly owned and operated by the Russian Government.

The article, which can be found here, suggests that the explosive event registered in the area of ​​operations of the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan was caused by a deep-sea mine “installed at the time of the Falklands War in 1982.”

Quoting Russian naval captain Vasili Dandikin on the fate of the ARA San Juan:

“In 1982, the British submarines could have placed maritime mines near the Argentine coasts, the mine could remain in the bottom for 35 years, and once a storm disconnected it from the rope, it could have hit the San Juan.”

The thing is, the UK didn’t use any naval mines during the Falklands War.

A report in The New York Times addressed Sputnik and RT as “powerful information weapons”. Foreign Policy magazine has described Sputnik as a slick and internet-savvy outlet of Kremlin propaganda, which “remixes President Vladimir Putin’s brand of revanchist nationalism for an international audience… beating a predictable drum of anti-Western rhetoric”.

Russia is at the forefront of information warfare in the modern age, utilising an array of organisations and strategies to spread disinformation to further national strategy but how are they doing it? We discuss that here.

36 COMMENTS

    • Its highly unlikely that any Mines were laid at these Southern Latitudes in WW2, unless a rouge Mine drifted from much further North and I mean much further like 8000 miles or so off the American coast line

      • It is difficult to understand the existence of a British mine in the area, since the English had no opportunity to place them during or before and after the War for the Malvina Islands. If it is more credible the attack of some vessel that serves as an escort to the fishing predators of China, Thailand or Spain itself. Although it is not bad at all to think of a “crossing” with some English ship that protects the coasts of the Malvinas Islands.

    • What would be the point of laying deep sea mines in WWII off a neutral country? None of course? the same applies to the Falklands war, we had submarines that could track any Argentinian vessel? again no point in laying mines! Mines are indiscriminate anyway and as much a danger to our own vessels as the enemies! This is just another Russian ploy to wind up the Argentinians to react and get us to deploy more forces to the Falklands as the Russians have clear intentions of invading Estonia where a British Armoured Brigade is encamped and on alert to defend Estonia from Russian aggression and a land grab as they have done in the Crimea and parts of Ukraine already!

      • I really liked your reply, and I agree with your comments. Russia`s FSB, GRU, or government-owned propaganda news agencies are indeed spreading disinformation. I would more bet on Russia planting deliberate deep sea mines to generate a political crisis between Argentina and Britain. Under international law of the United Nations and Geneva Conventions governing the Laws of Land Warfare deliberate mine fields and their locations must be recorded so the mines can be removed after the war or conflict is over. I would assume the Conventions on the Laws of the Sea and Naval Warfare would require the same release of information and removal of the mines after the end of the war. Most mines are likely more advanced today with magnetic sensors, possibly with friend or foe communications capabilities, and most are hasty mines to where they are set to auto detonate or destruct after some period of time. Maybe auto destruct codes can be sent to mines from aircraft, surface vessels or satellites too. And, there may be a way to activate or deactivate the mines remotely by RF or physical connections too. If the mines had been placed by Britain in the Falklands War, which I believe did not happen and was unnecessary, the mines would have been deactivated, recovered, or destroyed. I am not sure if the shells of sea mines are metal or now plastic. Plastic mines might be harder to detect. And, metal mines might be magnetized to attract themselves to the hull side of a ship. Mines of the future could be replaced with under water cruise missiles or torpedos. So this kind of warfare could be outdated now.

      • Chunky, I really liked your reply, and I agree with your comments. Russia`s FSB, GRU, or government-owned propaganda news agencies are indeed spreading disinformation. I would more bet on Russia planting deliberate deep sea mines to generate a political crisis between Argentina and Britain. Under international law of the United Nations and Geneva Conventions governing the Laws of Land Warfare deliberate mine fields and their locations must be recorded so the mines can be removed after the war or conflict is over. I would assume the Conventions on the Laws of the Sea and Naval Warfare would require the same release of information and removal of the mines after the end of the war. Most mines are likely more advanced today with magnetic sensors, possibly with friend or foe communications capabilities, and most are hasty mines to where they are set to auto detonate or destruct after some period of time. Maybe auto destruct codes can be sent to mines from aircraft, surface vessels or satellites too. And, there may be a way to activate or deactivate the mines remotely by RF communications or physical connections too. If the mines had been placed by Britain in the Falklands War, which I believe did not happen as it was unnecessary, the mines would have been deactivated, recovered, or destroyed. I am not sure if the shells of sea mines today are metal or now plastic. Plastic mines might be harder to detect. And, metal mines might be magnetized to attract themselves to the hull side of a ship. Mines of the future could be replaced with stationary platform under water cruise missiles or torpedos. So this kind of warfare could be outdated now. I do recall that Princess Diana was very much against the use of deliberate minefields in land warfare, but maybe it was any type of mines at all. I just do not see a clear benefit or advantage to Britain using deliberate deep sea mines against Argentina.

    • Were deep sea mines used in WWI? I do know they were used in WWII. When was the first Falklands War? WWI time frame, I believe. South America, maybe Chile or Peru, has the largest concentration of natural nitrates in the world needed for making gun powder. This made the waterways around South America strategically important, hence the importance to the control of the Falklands. By WWII, I.G. Farben (Chemical) Industry of Germany discovered a way to make Nitrates or Ammonia synthetically in high pressure gas chambers making the control of natural nitrates in South America redundant or less important. So, knowing this, using mines in South America would have been far more important in WWI, most likely. I did read some WWII history that said that German submarines or at least one did visit South America, Argentina or Brazil, possibly from having to do with a German base created in Antarctica.

  1. The story is clearly mischievous nonsense, but given the recent trend over here (and elsewhere in the West) to blame Russia for all our ails, I can’t really bring myself to blame them. It is to be expected that the Russians will seek to further their interests and damage our own, though I expect that once the sub is found the facts will be clear. Already some in Argentina have begun to accuse us of having attacked the San Juan somehow, so this will just give extra ammo to the usual malvinista knuckle-draggers.

      • Indeed they did try to claim it was a Western plot for some time (probably still do) and indeed any catastrophe and disaster (indeed almost anything that put them in a bad light) was blamed on Western Machinations in some way. Thats why I have to laugh at comments like that of Mojo above, as if they are in some way ‘responding to Western mischief’ when the reality is for the most part its either western truth or responses to eternal Russian mischief. But then history is awash with similar ‘you started it’ propaganda so I guess you take your pic as to what was the catalyst, certainly logic will play only a minor part.

        More importantly however is the fact that if anyone needed ‘proof’ that the Russians were involved in cyber manipulation in our affairs as has been stated then this little nugget shows that they have no qualms or morals at all about doing whatever they can to manipulate a situation to their benefit or indeed just for the malicious ‘fun factor’ and stir up any animosity they can anywhere they can where those they oppose are concerned related to them or otherwise.

        • @Spyinthesky spot on. Russia knows it can’t compete economically with the US or the EU, so it has to do what it can to disrupt us all. This is one of the more obvious examples. best Tim

        • Indeed they did try to claim it was a Western plot for some time

          They (The Russians) blamed both the US and the Uk for the incident. In fact in 2000, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” published an opinion of one of the captain divers, according to which “Splendid” submarine found rest next to “Kursk” on the bottom of the Barents Sea, and was blown up during an operation aimed to raise the Russian submarine.

          • Splendid was decommissioned in 2004 and currently sits in Devonport awaiting full disposal.
            Drive down to Torpoint Sainsbury’s and from the little beach behind, you can gaze across the river Tamar and still see the submarine, along with nine others.
            Splendid was not “blown up” by the Russians.
            Statements like this are as worthless as your whole comment, and many other comments you have made throughout this forum.
            We can see you are so obviously attempting to sow misinformation.
            Not wise.

        • @ spyinthesky

          Just to be clear, I am not in any way endorsing or defending this kind of behaviour by Russia, nor am I trying to make them out as innocent little victims, I am simply of the opinion that there has been an increasing and noticeable tendency in the last few years for certain western politicians and media commentators to reach for the “reds under the bed” card as soon as events don’t go their way (particularly post Trump and brexit). This kind of coverage by RT struck me as opportunistic tit for tat.

  2. Even if that were true how in the name of heaven could the Russians possibly know that. Anyone who believes this clearly mischievous troublemaking must be naive or stupid in the extreme.
    Putin is a sinister piece of work with an uncanny ability to tell the most outrageous lies with a straight face.

    • Sadly half the World fits into that category (probably being conservative there) especially where national prejudices or interests are concerned even amongst otherwise intelligent people. Plenty of Argentinians will wish to believe this so that they don’t have to accept a slight on their nation and its present state of decay.

      • Ya spy-it’s a sad old state of affairs. I wonder about the ability of the Argentinian Navy to undertake even simple maintenance. Notwithstanding the parlous state of their finances and the fact that their Armed Forces had almost zero by way of Government support, how bad do things have to get when you witness one of your Destroyers literally turning turtle whilst tied up at the dockside through lack of basic repairs!

      • I’ll never forget the widely held Iraqi belief that British soldiers had released “man-eating badgers” into the Basra area, SMH.

  3. is this not a way of Russia to try and enforce a Russia/Argentina trade…i,m sure the other year Russia were to trying to provide fighter jets for beef etc,the other year,after Russia backed Kertcheners claims to the Falklands..at a annual UN meeting….or am i barking up the wrong tree??

  4. I think it would’ve come to light by now had the Royal Navy been laying mines in the area of which is bewildering to say the least given the timeframe of the invasion and the time it took to dispatch the task force south. Given the shipping traffic that comes in and out of the Falklands I very much doubt this would’ve been kept quiet from 1982-2017 if it were true, the Royal Navy did not need to lay mines to discourage the Argentines to stay clear for when the Belgrano was sunk by WW2 torpedoes that was adequate enough to cause their navy to withdraw.

  5. It’s just another little game the Russian government are playing (lies as usual) I have a good friend in Russia that i talk to regularly.. I can tell from the things my friend say’s how the Russian state owned media affects public opinion over there.. Many things that are just totally inaccurate about the west.

    Anyway c’est la vie as they say.. Best just to ignore da

  6. A friend of mine’s brother was killed in Iran working at a harbour office when a mine was dredged up & exploded on then quayside. Apparently it was a Russian of Czarist vintage. The Russians however are only reporting speculation for which there is no evidence.
    I think it was aliens.

  7. I do really enjoy UKDJ but I feel it is starting to lose its impartialness. Even if its only in the headline. Some of the tweets I read from the twitter account are almost toe curling as well. Would be great if could minimise the bias and stay a reliable source of information. Still a big fan though!

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