The first images have surfaced on social media of the heavily damaged Moskva, the Russian cruiser that sank last week after a heavy fire on board, possibly caused by a Ukrainian missile attack.
The images show a lot of smoke, and the ship is listing. The loss of the Moskva is a symbolic setback for the Russian army.
The images appear to have been taken from another ship, which may have been sent to rescue the crew of the badly damaged Moskva. It is unclear where and when the images were taken exactly, but it is almost certain that it is the Moskva.
These are clearly images of a cruiser of the so-called Slava-class, with missile launch tubes directed diagonally forward on each side. The Moskva has two sister ships, but they are not part of the Black Sea Fleet, and as far as is known, there has been no incident with those two vessels. From this, it can be deduced that the cruiser in the images is indeed the Moskva.
The cruiser sank last Thursday when it was towed to the port of Sevastopol for repairs. According to Russia, a fire broke out on board, which caused ammunition to explode. According to Ukraine, the fire results from a Ukrainian missile attack.
It is not clear whether and how many crew members were killed. Yesterday, the Defense Ministry released footage of the Moskva’s crew being greeted by the admiral of the Russian Navy. However, it is impossible to verify how many crew members can be seen in the images.
According to the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europe, about 40 crew members were killed. The newspaper relies on the anonymous testimony of a mother of a crew member who survived.
“He called me and wept for what he had seen; it was terrible,” the mother testified. The military said the ship was hit by missiles fired from Ukraine. His name will not be disclosed, but Novaja Gazeta has documents showing that he worked in the Moskva
In any case, the loss of the Moskva was a serious blow to the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, as the ship acted as a command ship and was able to shell numerous cities in Ukraine from the sea heavily.