What about the crew of the Russian cruiser that sank in the Black Sea on April 14? Five days after the events, the first pictures give little information about the fate of the sailors.
Thick black smoke rises from the central castle. The ship leans to port under the effect of the list. Or is it the start of the Ukrainian strike? The first pictures of the sinking of the cruiser Moscow which have been circulating on social networks since Sunday evening give only scant clues as to what really happened in the Black Sea on April 14. Only one thing is certain: the ship is actually on the seabed. By the way, who sank it? What will become of the crew? The secret remains.
According to observers, the authenticity of the pictures leaves little doubt. We see the ship badly damaged, but no sign of men on board. “The photos were taken when the boat was already left to its fate”, analyzes Thibault Lamidel, specialist in naval affairs. A short video, barely a few seconds long and shot as if the hand behind the camera wanted to be discreet, seems to confirm that its author “wasn’t really allowed to take photos‘ states the expert interviewed by that Figaro.
The Ukrainian version confirmed
Although thin, what do the elements taken from the photographs say? “The disaster visibly affected the central superstructure and perhaps even the command structures, which are barely visible behind the smoke.‘ describes Thibaut Lamidel. Two jets of water can be seen trying to douse the flames. According to various observers, they came from a Russian sea tug hidden behind the ship.Sliva-class SB-922 rescuer‘ says the blogger small think tank. “This coincides with the presence of five Russian rescue ships nearby at the time of the events.‘ explains Thibault Lamidel. According to the specialist, the fight against the disaster would have started around 2 or 3 p.m. before being abandoned to proceed with the evacuation of the crew.
However, nothing in the pictures refutes Moscow’s thesis that a munitions explosion forced the crew to abandon ship. But if two RK-360MTS subsonic anti-ship missiles “Neptunethe ship has achieved as claimed by Kyiv, the visible marks on and below the waterline seem to confirm this. Effects”right where most anti-ship cruise missiles are designed to hit” notes blogger Tyler Rogoway on his specialized page The War Zone.
What about sailors? There, too, the versions are contradictory. For Kyiv there is no doubt that the sailors sank to the bottom of the sea with the ship, since “A storm prevented the rescue of the boat and the evacuation of the crew“Said a military source but admitted he could not provide details.”lack of reliable data“. For its part, Moscow assures that the crew, which for a flagship of this type makes up between 485 and 510 sailors, “evacuated to other Black Sea Fleet ships nearbyand would be safe in Sevastopol.
Based on the photos, however, a certain number of victims is very likely, estimates Thibault Lamidel. “The affected part corresponds to the power station, which supplies power to the entire boat‘ he explains to him Figaro. If a hit occurs, the missiles will inevitably hit the propulsion specialists at this key post. “Unless the warning was given in good time, which cannot be ruled out” the analyst clarifies. “It all depends on how much the accident surprised the crew“.
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“List of missing»
Another echo also rocked the official Russian version. This is the statement of a sailor father broadcast on VKontakte, Russia’s Facebook, and picked up by Russian media Meduza. The Russian warns of the fate of his son, who is on board as a cook Moscowand those on a “listing the disappeared“.”Guys, please spread this information‘ the father begged in a post that was first deleted and then reposted.
The Russian Defense Minister released a video on Saturday showing the sailors involved in the attack Moscow in uniform and in line, greeted by an officer, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. “Brazen and cynical lie!exclaims the sailor’s father. Only a hundred sailors appear on the video. Why should the others be missing? Are you hurt? Disappeared? Isn’t the video from before the sinking? The ship’s captain, Anton Kuprin, took to social media to say he was killed in the blast.fits together exactlyto one of the characters featured in the video, notes maritime intelligence expert HI Sutton on his blog.
On the Russian social network, the father claims to have been contacted by several other sailor families. And commanded “those who are not afraidsend out his callso that the bastards do not “choke” this terrible tragedy.“.”This confirms a very common tendency in the Russian armies: the lack of transparency about human losses’ decodes the researcher Anna Colin Lebedev.
For the Russia specialist, the story of Moscow reminiscent of that of the submarine Kursk, victim of a double blast when Vladimir Poutine was newly elected head of the Russian Federation. A mystery remained the object of all fantasies, due to a lack of institutional communication. “In any case, all the assumptions are uncomfortable for Moscow. Whether it was an attack by Ukrainian missiles or spontaneous fire on the boat doesn’t say much about the military capabilities of this ship or the Russian fleet in general.“.
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