The first image of the Russian cruiser Moskva before it sank has emerged.
It appears to be the same as the Moskva, with several lifeboats in the Black Sea surrounding the crippled vessel, engulfed in black smoke.
After an ammunition explosion, Russia admitted that its flagship vessel had sunk. According to Ukrainian defence officials, the ship was attacked with neptune anti-ship missiles. It’s still unclear how many of the crew members from the flagship escaped, despite reports that the number of fatalities could number in hundreds.
All of the lifeboats on the port side appear to have been deployed, implying that many sailors may have evacuated the warship.
According to Russia, all 500 crew members were rescued on Wednesday. Unfortunately, however, some of those onboard died, including the ship’s captain.
According to independent open-source analysts questioned by reputable The Maritime Executive, the new photographs are “compatible with an anti-ship missile strike.”
“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,” they said.
“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.”
The photographs depict a calm sea, in contrast to official Russian tales of stormy seas.
The standard crew complement of the ship was 510. According to footage provided to Russian media by the Defence Ministry, only about 150 crew members were present for a subsequent parade of “survivors” at Sevastopol. There was no explanation for the missing sailors or any possible injured seamen.
The Moskva was one of only three Slava-class cruisers in the Russian navy during the Soviet era.
“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.
Western diplomats said on Thursday that the damage to Russia’s flagship cruiser was yet another example of Russian incompetence.
“In terms of credibility for Russian forces, it’s an enormous loss regardless of how it’s happened,” they said.