Captain of sunken Russian warship Moskva 'killed on board', Ukraine claims

15 April 2022, 17:21 | Updated: 16 April 2022, 06:40

Ukraine claim Anton Kuprin, captain of the sunken Moskva, has died
Ukraine claim Anton Kuprin, captain of the sunken Moskva, has died. Picture: Alamy/ Russian Ministry of Defence

By Megan Hinton

The captain of Russian warship Moskva, that was sunk in the Black Sea, has been killed on board Ukraine claim.

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Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's ministry of internal affairs, shared the claim on Telegram saying that the ship's captain, Anton Kuprin who ordered the bombing of soldiers on Snake Island, had died.

The Russian flagship sunk following what Ukraine says was a missile strike, but the Kremlin has said the cruiser sank in 'stormy seas' after a fire on board.

The governor of the Odesa region, Maksym Marchenko, said the Ukrainians struck the guided-missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused "serious damage".

Today, Ukrainian military experts issued stark warnings of 'broken arrow' incidents in the Black Sea.

The experts fear that Moskva could have been carrying two nuclear warheads designed to be fitted to its P-1000 'carrier killer' missiles, if true this could pave the way for potentially lethal accidents involving nuclear weapons.

A western official told reporters on Thursday that damage to the flagship - regardless of how it was caused - would be an "enormous loss" to the country's military credibility.

"I can't definitively tell you exactly what has happened... but I am not aware previously of a fire onboard a capital warship which has led to the ammunition magazine exploding as a consequence," they said.

"Were that to have been the case - were it just to have been an accident - it's a remarkably inept piece of control by the Russian military. And I find it difficult to believe that that would have been the case in this instance.

"So the claim by the Ukrainian forces, I think, is credible."

They added: "The loss of the Moskva is a significant loss, I think, a little bit in terms of capability, but in terms of credibility for Russian forces it's an enormous loss - regardless of how it's happened - whether it's as a consequence of ineptitude onboard or an attack by Ukrainian forces.

"Almost regardless of how it's happened, it's a massive blow for Russian credibility about what they're doing in their operation."

Russia claims all sailors were "successfully evacuated" from the ship after the fire but video taken in Sevastopol overnight shows dozens of cars purportedly belonging to the sailors still parked in the port.

Ilya Ponomarev, a politician exiled from Russia for opposing Putin's 2014 annexation of Crimea, said just 58 of the 510-strong crew have since been accounted for, but this claim cannot be verified.

The Moskva is the second major Russian ship known to have been severely damaged since the invasion began.