Moscow, Apr 22 (EFE).- Russia said Friday that one sailor died and 27 others remain unaccounted for after the sinking last week of the Moskva, flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, in an incident that Moscow attributes to an onboard fire while Kyiv claims the vessel was struck by Ukrainian missiles.
“As a result of a fire on April 13, the Moskva missile cruiser was seriously damaged due to the detonation of ammunition,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“One serviceman was killed, another 27 crew members went missing,” according to the statement, which said that “the remaining 396 members” had been evacuated and taken to the Crimean Black Sea port of Sebastopol.
The defense ministry said that it is “providing all the necessary support and assistance to the families and friends of the deceased and the missing.”
Russian officials initially said that everyone aboard the Moskva had been rescued and remained silent for several days after Meduza, an independent Russian-language outlet in Latvia, reported that 37 sailors perished.
Ukraine said that the Moskva sunk on April 13 after being struck by two Neptune missiles. Russia denied the report, insisting that the ship remained afloat after the crew brought the fire under control.
Later that day, however, the Russian navy said that the Moskva went down in rough seas as other vessels were towing it to port.