Dramatic first picture ‘shows Moskva moments before it sank’

·3-min read
Dramatic first picture ‘shows Moskva moments before it sank’

The first picture appearing to show Russian cruiser Moskva moments before it sank have now emerged, according to reports.

It seems to match the Moskva and appear to show multiple lifeboats in the Black Sea around the damaged vessel which was surrounded by black smoke.

Russians admitted its flagship warship had sunk after an ammunition explosion. Ukrainian defence chiefs said it hit the ship with neptune anti-ship missiles.

It remains unclear how many of the crew survived from the flagship amid claims the dead may run into the hundreds.

 (Twitter/east2west news)
(Twitter/east2west news)

All the lifeboats on the port side are seen to have been deployed which suggests a significant number of crew could have escaped the warship.

Russia has claimed all 500 crew members were rescued on Wednesday. Ukrainian officials have said some of those onboard died including the ship’s captain.

The new images appear “consistent with an anti-ship missile strike”, said independent open-source analysts questioned by authoritative The Maritime Executive.

They said: “It appears to show two holes amidships at the waterline, just below the stacks on the port side. Significant fire damage is visible above decks, and the ship has a pronounced list to port.

“Black smoke marks at multiple hull penetrations near the main deck level are consistent with an internal fire running aft of the site of impact, according to analysts.”

Crew members from the sunken missile cruiser Moskva line up for a meeting with the head of the Russian navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, (via REUTERS)
Crew members from the sunken missile cruiser Moskva line up for a meeting with the head of the Russian navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, (via REUTERS)

The images show a calm sea, contrary to official Russian reports claiming there was a storm or rough seas.

The ship’s normal crew complement was 510.

Only around 150 crew members were present at a parade involving “survivors” held afterwards in Sevastopol, according to footage supplied to the Russian media by the Defence Ministry.

No explanation was given for the missing sailors, nor about possible wounded seamen.

On Friday, British defence chiefs said Russia is likely to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea in the wake of the incident.

Russia has suffered damage to two key naval assets - the Moskva and Alligator-class landing ship Saratov - since invading Ukraine, London’s Ministry of Defence said.

“Both events will likely lead Russia to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea,” it said.

The Soviet-era Moskva was one of only three Slava-class cruisers in the Russian navy.

“Originally commissioned in 1979, the Moskva had completed an extensive refit designed to improve its capability and only returned to operational status in 2021,” the Ministry of Defence said.

On Thursday, Western officials said the damage to the flagship warship was another sign of Russian incompetence.

“In terms of credibility for Russian forces it’s an enormous loss regardless of how it’s happened,” they said.

“Whether it’s as a consequence of ineptitude on board or an attack by Ukrainian forces. Regardless of how it’s happened, it’s a massive blow for Russian credibility. I think that’s why we’re seeing conflicting Russian narratives in that space.

“Because either they’ve been vulnerable to an attack by Ukrainians, and that questions their competence, or they have had a fire on board a capital ship, which has then resulted in detonation of its magazine, where its ammunition is stored, and that is just another bit of incompetence.”

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