the mystery of the moskva survivors

What about the crew of the Russian cruiser, sunk in the Black Sea on April 14? Five days after the events, the first images provide little information about the fate of the sailors.

Thick black smoke rises from the central castle. The ship is leaning to port under the effect of heeling. Or is it the shot from the Ukrainian attack? The first images of the sinking of the cruiser Moscow that have been circulating on social media since Sunday night, give only scant clues as to what really happened on April 14 in the Black Sea. Only one thing is certain: the ship lies at the bottom of the sea. Otherwise, who sank it? What about the crew? The mystery remains.

The authenticity of the images, according to observers, leaves little doubt. We see the ship badly damaged, but the men on board, there is no trace. “The photos were taken when the ship was already abandoned to its fate.“, analyzes Thibault Lamidel, a specialist in naval affairs. A short video, lasting just a few seconds, and shot as if the hand behind the camera wanted to be discreet, seems to confirm that its author “it wasn’t really allowed to take pictures“, says the expert interviewed by You Figaro.

The Ukrainian version corroborated

Although meager, what do the elements extracted 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 are seen, trying to extinguish the flames. According to several observers, they would come from a Russian tug hidden behind the ship, “SB-922 Sliva-class rescuersays the blogger small group of experts. «This overlaps with the presence of five Russian rescue ships in the vicinity at the time of the incident.“, explains Thibault Lamidel. According to the specialist, the fight against the incident would have begun around 2 or 3 p.m., before it was abandoned to proceed with the evacuation of the crew.

However, nothing in the images refutes Moscow’s thesis, that an ammunition explosion forced the crew to abandon ship. But if two RK-360MTS subsonic anti-ship missiles “Neptunereached the ship, as kyiv claims, visible tracks at and below the waterline seem to corroborate this. impacts”Precisely where most anti-ship cruise missiles are supposed to hit.“, says blogger Tyler Rogoway on his specialized site The war zone.

likely victims

What about the sailors? There too, the versions are opposed. For kyiv, no doubt, the sailors went down with the ship at the bottom of the sea, sincea storm prevented the rescue of the ship and the evacuation of the crew“Said a military source, acknowledging however that he could not give details”lack of reliable data“. For its part, Moscow claims that the crew, which is between 485 and 510 sailors for a flagship of these characteristics, was “evacuated to other nearby ships of the Black Sea Fleetand he would be safe and sound in Sevastopol.

However, based on the photographs, it is very likely that there were a certain number of victims, estimates Thibault Lamidel. “The affected part corresponds to the power station, which supplies electricity to the entire ship“, he explains to Figaro. If there was a hit, the missiles inevitably hit the propulsion specialists stationed at this key post. “Unless the alert was given in time, which is not excludedHowever, it specifies the analyst. “It all depends on how much the accident surprised the crew.».

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«missing list»

Another echo also shakes the official Russian version. This is the testimony of the father of a sailor, spread on VKontakte, the Russian Facebook, and taken up by the Russian media. jellyfish. The Russian warns of the fate of his son, on board as a cook in the Moscowand that it would appear in a “list of the disappeared». «Guys please spread this informationbegs the father in a post first deleted and then reposted.

The Russian Defense Minister broadcast on Saturday a video showing the sailors of the Moscow in uniform and in line, greeted by an officer, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. “Blatant and cynical lie!exclaims the sailor’s father. In the video, only one hundred sailors appear. Why would the others be missing? They’re hurt? Missing? Doesn’t the video date from before the sinking? The ship’s captain, Anton Kuprin, reported that he was killed in the explosion on social media, “closely matchesto one of the characters that appear in the video, note in his blog the expert in maritime intelligence Hi Suton.

On the Russian social network, the father claims to have been contacted by several other families of sailors. And he ordered “those who are not afraidto transmit your call,so that the bastards don’t “suffocate” with this terrible tragedy». «This confirms a widespread trend in the Russian armies: lack of transparency about human losses“, deciphers the researcher Anna Colin Lebedev.

For the Russian specialist, the history of Moscow remember the submarine Kursk, victim of a double explosion when Vladimir Putin was newly elected head of the Russian Federation. A mystery continued to be the object of all fantasies, due to lack of institutional communication. “All the same, all assumptions are inconvenient for Moscow. Whether it was a Ukrainian missile attack or a fire that spontaneously appeared on the ship, that does not say much about the military capabilities of this ship, or the Russian fleet in general.».

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