Saturday, May 28

The first images of the sinking of the Moskva emerge while Russia silences what happened on the ship

Four days after the sinking of the Russian ship Moskva, the first photos and videos of the wrecked ship have come to light. Russia maintains the version that the missile carrier sank due to a fire in the middle of a strong storm, kyiv claims responsibility for the attack and the US confirms that the warship was hit by two Ukrainian missiles.

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The ship was loaded with 16 cruise missiles and other ammunition. Part of the arsenal exploded on the ship, the rest, according to Pentagon sources, is now at the bottom of the Black Sea.

The images of the smoking Moskva in the middle of the Black Sea appear to be taken from a rescue ship alongside the ship. They show serious damage to the left side, a fire and thick smoke rising from the ship.

The Moskva is shown listing to port and it appears that the lifeboats have been deployed. No crew seen on board. It can also be seen that there may be a firefighting ship, since water jets can be seen reaching the ship from the opposite side to the image taken.

Analysts and experts who have reviewed the images verify that they seem real. Naval expert John Konrad has posted a thread on Twitter in which he discusses the images. He points out that the photos show that the ship has lost its buoyancy line and “is listing to port”, that the lifeboats were deployed and that “the dense and dark smoke is the result of the burning of heavy fuels or materials synthetics” describing the situation as “very dangerous”.

The images are consistent with the version of the United States Defense, which ensures that the Russian missile carrier sank after being hit by two Ukrainian missiles on the side that appears badly damaged in the images, as kyiv affirms but the Kremlin denies, which maintains a news blackout about what really happened in the Moskva.

No news (official) of the victims

Media such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and CNN quote Pentagon sources according to which US intelligence reports indicate that several deaths occurred in the attack among the crew of the Moskva and that lifeboats picked up the passengers. survivors. However, Russia maintains that there were no fatalities and that all crew members were rescued from the ship before it sank while it was being towed to port. Ukraine says that the ship’s captain, Anton Kuprin, was killed in the attack, but this information has not yet been verified.

This Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a video in which it ensures that the Moskva crew is shown after the sinking. In the images, a large group of sailors is seen on parade in the port city of Sevastopol, in Crimea, received by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov.

The Russian ministry video shows about 200 crew members, although the Moskva’s crew normally consisted of about 500 sailors. The first part of this video was broadcast by the Kremlin without sound.

Nóvaya Gazeta, an investigative outlet critical of the Kremlin that closed in Russia and has opened a European edition, has collected the testimony of the mother of one of the Moskva survivors.

“The first time I heard from him was on April 15, two days after the incident,” says the woman who narrates that her son told her crying how the ship had been hit from land, on the Ukrainian side: “He called me and cried from what he had seen. It was horrible. It is clear that not all survived. The woman adds that “some forty people died, several disappeared and many were injured” and that the Russian Ministry of Defense prevents the survivors from returning home so that what happened on the ship is not leaked.

In addition to this testimony, Nóvaya Gazeta collects information that documents the death of crew members, from posts on networks that lament the death of young recruits to a flower crown in a farewell ceremony to the Moskva in Sevastopol on April 15 with the inscription “to the ship and its sailors”.

Glimpse of criticism in the Russian media

The lack of official data on what really happened that night in the middle of the storm in the Moskva and what has become of its crew has raised the first signs of discomfort on the part of some Kremlin media commentators.

Vladimir Solovyev, a Russian presenter normally aligned with the government version, was “outraged” by the sinking and launched a series of rhetorical questions about what caused the sinister, according to the New York Times.

“If the ship caught fire before sinking, as the Russians claim, why didn’t it have a system to extinguish the fire? If she was sunk by two Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles, why did she lack an anti-missile system? (…) Explain to me how she managed to lose control, ”Solovyev asked on his Saturday show.

This intervention is not common in the media in Russia, which enacted a law in early March that punishes any information they consider “false” about the war. Journalists face hefty fines and sentences that can reach up to 15 years in prison, which is why all independent media outlets have closed down in Russia.

The NYT reports that some commentators are angry on Russian television about the sinking of the Moskva and turn their backs on the official version that everything was the fault of a fire. Vladimir Bortko, a film director and former member of the Duma, assured a gathering on Thursday that the attack on the warship should be treated as an attack on Russia itself.

“The attack on our territory is casus belli, an absolute cause for real war,” said Bortko, who called for forceful responses, including bombing kyiv and the transport networks that allowed visits by foreign leaders: “Bomb them once and done.”

A great loss for Russia

The Moskva was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and its loss is the biggest military naval catastrophe since World War II.

It has been the main asset by sea in Russia’s recent military contests. Although at a military level it is not decisive in the course of this war and Russia tries to minimize its importance, the collapse is a serious blow to the image and morale of the Russian Army after seven weeks of invasion.

In turn, the sinking of the ship is a victory for Ukraine and a morale boost for its battered eastern troops trying to hold defensive positions.

Following the naval catastrophe, Russia has intensified its air strikes, including places like kyiv from which it had announced its withdrawal.