A wreck belong to the Owner until someone is given the right to salvage. In this case the Owner (Soviet Navy) had not given permission to star any salvage operation.
Besides, the wreck contained the remains of the deceased crewmembers and was thus a grave and not to be disturbed,
We had a thread about the disappeared war wreck in the Java Sea some time back.
Everybody agreed that the Chinese salvors had no right to disturb the war graves, but I presume it is “different rules for different folks”?
Yes I have read the reports about the remains being given all due respect.
Nobody asked the relatives if they wanted to have the remains for a burial on Russian soil, however.
PS> If a vessel is in danger and request salvage assistance LOF is used as “Salvage contract”. LOF can be verbally agreed and is still binding.
BTW; The right to claim salvage because a vessel is abandoned does not apply when a vessel has sunk