Riga, Apr 19 (EFE).- At least 37 people have died in the sinking of Russia’s guided-missile cruiser Moskva, independent news website Meduza reported Tuesday, even as Moscow has given scarce details about the warship that sank in the Black Sea last week.
Citing an unnamed source “close to the command of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” the Russian language news portal said the bodies were sent to Sevastopol in Crimea on Apr.15
“Another 100 sailors were injured, and multiple people aboard the ship are still missing,” said the popular news website, blocked and designated as a “foreign agent” media organization by Russia.
Meduza publishes online news in Russian and English from Latvian capital of Riga.
The warship sank on Apr.13 after an explosion and fire amid Ukrainian claims that it hit the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet with homemade Neptune missiles.
However, Moscow has said the fire on the 12,490-tonne vessel was caused by the explosion of the warship’s ammunition.
It is still unknown how many people were onboard the 510-crew missile cruiser – one a symbol of Russian naval prowess.
The Russian command claimed that all crew members aboard the ship were evacuated when it was being towed away before “the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded.”
“Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” the Russian defense ministry said.
German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” reported that recruits were on board the Moskva.
Citing an unidentified Russian source, the Dutch newspaper dismissed the Russian claim about the safe evacuation of all the crew.
Parents and family members of sailors who served on board the ship have taken to social media, seeking answers from the Russian government on the mysterious whereabouts of their children.
Dmitry Shkrebets said his eldest son Yegor, recruited last year, was a conscript on the ship where he worked as a cook.
He is now missing, according to the father.
The German newspaper said some journalists had found a photo in a Russian navy magazine published in December in which Yegor was identified as a cook.
President Vladimir Putin had earlier denied Ukrainian media reports about the capture of Russian recruits in March, days after the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin assured that neither reservists nor recruits were taking part in the “special operation” in Ukraine.
In 2017, Russia had assured that conscripts were not assigned to warships.
Another Russian mum from St. Petersburg has reported that her son Mark Tarasov was also missing after the sinking of the Moskva. EFE