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The first pictures purporting to show stricken Russian cruiser Moskva soon after it was ‘hit by Ukrainian missiles’ have emerged.
The images seem to match the Moskva and seem to show multiple lifeboats in the Black Sea around the damaged vessel.
It remains unclear how many of the crew survived from the flagship amid claims the dead may run into the hundreds.
Black smoke is seen pouring from the warship, and it is listing to port by around 20 degrees.
All the lifeboats on the aft port side are seen to have been deployed, which suggests a significant number of crew were able to escape the warship.
If genuine, the pictures must have been taken from a nearby ship, prompting the theory that they were leaked to dispel ‘Kremlin lies’ over the incident.
One claim is that the photographs were taken from a Turkish ship which, earlier, was claimed to have rescued 54 men.
Moscow has admitted only a fire on board, causing an explosion.
The new images appear “consistent with an anti-ship missile strike”, said independent open-source analysts questioned by authoritative The Maritime Executive.
“It appears to show two holes amidships (middle of the ship) 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.
“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.”
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The images show a calm sea, contrary to official Russian reports claiming there was a storm or rough seas.
The ship’s normal crew complement was 510 but at a parade involving “survivors” held afterwards in Sevastopol, only around 150 were present according to footage supplied to the Russian media by the Defence Ministry.
No explanation was given for the missing sailors, nor about possible wounded seamen.
A source told Russian media VHCK-OGPU – which has links to ruling circles in Moscow – that the cruiser sank shortly after these pictures were taken.
If true, this means the Russian government statements that it sank under tow back to port Sevastopol area false.
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“According to the source, shortly after this photograph was taken, the cruiser Moskva sank,” said the outlet.
“According to Turkey (this was reported by the VCHK-OGPU), at 1.05 an SOS signal was received from the cruiser, on which the nearest ships moved to the crash site, including the Turkish ship that saved 54 sailors.”
Twitter account OSINTtechnical commented on the pictures: “I can’t verify the authenticity, but this is a Slava class cruiser and I don’t think any of them have been destroyed in this manner.
“There is a discrepancy between the reported photo date of 4/15 and the Russian reported sinking date of 4/14.”
- Russia Ukraine war
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