Russia said on Friday that one crew member was dead and 27 were missing after the sinking of the guided-missile cruiser Moskva last week, Moscow’s first admission of losses in the wake of the tragedy.
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had led Russia’s naval effort in the nearly two-month-long conflict in Ukraine, playing a pivotal role in the siege of the port city of Mariupol.
After the sinking of the Moskva, parents and other family members of sailors who served on board – including conscripts – took to social media, saying their children were missing and they needed help. answers.
“Following a fire on April 13, the missile cruiser Moskva was seriously damaged by the detonation of ammunition,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement released Friday evening by Russian news agencies.
“A soldier was killed, 27 other crew members disappeared,” the ministry said, adding that “the remaining 396 members” had been evacuated.
A senior Pentagon official said the Moskva warship was hit by two Ukrainian missiles before it sank in the Black Sea.
The Russian Defense Ministry made the announcement after authorities first announced that all crew members had been evacuated.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense provides all necessary support and assistance to families and friends of deceased and missing persons,” the statement said.
He said “an absolute majority” of servicemen under contract wanted to continue their service aboard Black Sea Fleet ships.
In recent days, a number of Russian parents have called for the truth about their missing children, but the Kremlin had previously refused to reveal details of the victims aboard the warship which can carry up to 680 sailors.
Several families said on social media or in statements to independent Russian or foreign press that they could not find their children who were serving on the Moskva.
A relative, Dmitry Shkrebets, said on social media that when he tried to find out more about the fate of his missing son, the commander of the cruiser and his deputy remained incommunicado.
Asked to comment on the situation on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the Kremlin was not free to reveal details.
Meduza, an independent Russian-language news site, citing a source close to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet command, said 37 of the Moskva’s crew had died.
About 100 men were injured while the precise number of missing is unknown, according to the publication.
Some 500 people were on board when the Moskva was hit, Meduza said, citing the source.