The mother of a sailor who died in the sinking of Russia’s flagship warship spoke of about 200 injured in the disaster as photos emerged showing the vessel on fire.
The Moskva missile cruiser sank in the Black Sea in the early hours on Thursday, reportedly after being hit by a Ukrainian missile. The Russian government did not acknowledge any losses or give any detailed account of what happened on board.
Footage released by Russia’s defence ministry over the weekend showed the ship’s crew back at their home base but the crew appeared to be at least one-half of the 500 men believed to have been onboard.
Parents of a Moskva sailor said on Monday that their son who has served on the ship since last summer as a cook is now listed as missing.
Irina Shkrebets, mother of Yegor Shkrebets, told the Russian media outlet the Insider that she and her husband went to a hospital in Crimea over the weekend where she saw about 200 Moskva sailors with severe burns, hoping to find their son.
“I saw every kid who got burns. I can’t describe how tough it was but I didn’t find my child,” she said.
“There were 200 people [at the hospital] while there were more than 500 people on the cruiser. Where’s the rest of them?”
She said local security officials have rejected her pleas to see the list of those killed and missing from the Moskva.
Another mother of a sailor told Novaya Gazeta that her son who survived and is now in hospital spoke of about 40 killed.
“My son was crying when he called me to say what he saw. It was terrifying. Clearly, not everyone made it alive,” the woman who asked to be unnamed for security reasons said.
“He said he’d never think he would end up in such a mince-grinder in peacetime.”
A channel on the Telegram messaging app that is believed to be linked to Russian security agencies on Monday released what appears to be photos of the Moskva on fire before it sank.
The photos taken from another ship nearby show the giant vessel tilted to the side, with black plumes of smoke rising over its rear and water hoses spraying water in the air.
The lifeboats appear to have been deployed, and there do not seem to be any personnel on the deck.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said on Monday he saw the footage but was unable to say “if it is authentic and true”.
The loss of the Moskva, one of the Russian Navy’s three missile cruiser vessels of this type, could pose a serious challenge to Russia’s plans to hold ground in southern Ukraine and potentially attack the Black Sea port of Odesa.
The warship, inaugurated in 1983, has played a major role in Russian military campaigns.
Most recently, the Moskva was involved in the operation against Ukraine’s Snake Island in the Black Sea in the first days of the war.
When it called on Ukrainian soldiers to surrender, it famously received the reply: “Russian warship, go f— yourself.”
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