DATE=8/22/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA SUB (L UPDATE) NUMBER=2-265742 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting the home base of the navy's Northern Fleet to pay tribute to 118 sailors who died aboard the nuclear submarine Kursk. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from Moscow that he could face a hostile welcome. TEXT: President Putin is meeting with some of the relatives of the sailors who died aboard the submarine Kursk. He will probably meet some hostility from relatives who have complained bitterly that the government did too little too late to save their loved ones. It is Mr. Putin's first trip to the nuclear fleet's home port since the accident 10 days ago. Last Friday, he told reporters he had wanted to go to the fleet's headquarters as soon as he heard about the accident, but decided he did not want to interfere with the rescue efforts. Mr. Putin has been heavily criticized for remaining at a Black Sea resort during the early days of the rescue mission. Anger has also simmered over the government's reluctance to accept foreign help. Norwegian deep-sea divers, who arrived at the accident site a week after the Kursk sank, managed to open the rear escape hatch and confirm there were no survivors because of flooding throughout the submarine. The rescue teams from Britain and Norway left the area late Tuesday after a brief ceremony to honor the 118 Russian sailors who died in the Kursk accident. Norway has agreed to help recover the bodies of the crew and help salvage the wreck of the nuclear submarine. President Putin has declared Wednesday as a national day of mourning. (Signed) NEB/LMK/GE/JP 22-Aug-2000 12:14 PM LOC (22-Aug-2000 1614 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .