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Dramatic image of burning Russian warship Moskva before it sank emerges
18 April 2022, 11:10
An image of the Russian warship Moskva burning before it sank has emerged.
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The Black Sea flagship was lost after a fire broke out, with Russia claiming it to have been an accident while Ukraine says it was struck by anti-ship missiles.
The fate of much of the crew remains unclear despite a video purportedly showing sailors being released by authorities in Moscow in the aftermath of the sinking.
New images show the missile cruiser burning, producing a large plume of smoke as the ship leans to its left side.
While there is a debate as to how important the Moskva was to Russia's invasion of Crimea, it represents at a minimum a symbolic blow to invading forces.
The ship gained notoriety for being on the receiving end of the famous "Russian warship, go f*** yourself" when it told Ukrainian defenders on the Black Sea's Snake Island to surrender in the initial invasion.
Russia releases video of 'surviving crew' of sunken Moskva ship
Russia struck a missile facility near Kyiv in the aftermath of the sinking, which is said to produce the Neptune anti-ship missiles that Ukraine claims hit the cruiser – despite Moscow's denial that it lost the ship to an attack.
Questions over how many crew members survived the sinking have also been raised.
Russia's Ministry of Defence published footage that appeared to show an admiral addressing sailors in Sevastopol, Crimea.
But the date the footage of the roughly 100 officers and seamen was taken on is unclear.
"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," a Western official told reporters last week.
"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.”