Ukraine Situation Report: Fate Of Sunken Moskva’s Crew Still In Question (Updated)
Russia released a video Saturday claiming to show survivors, but not many, of its cruiser Moskva’s sinking off Ukraine.
More than two days since Ukrainian anti-ship missiles sank the Russian Navy’s Project 1164 Slava class cruiser Moskva, questions remain about how many of those aboard the Black Sea Fleet flagship survived the attack.
A senior U.S. defense official confirmed to The War Zone on Friday that the Ukrainian military successfully struck the cruiser, debunking separate Russian claims that the cruiser suffered an ammunition explosion unrelated to an attack. Russia has also claimed the Moskva’s entire crew evacuated the ship before it sank during an attempt to tow the burning ship to Crimea.
Before diving into today’s updates from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on the war’s latest news with our previous rolling coverage here.
UPDATE: 5:37 PM EST
H I Sutton, a naval affairs analyst and author, had done a deeper analysis of the extended video and has come up with roughly half the ship's complement being present in it, along with the captain. There are some who think the video may have been old and re-used or edited for propaganda purposes, although we don't see any proof of that at this time. Sutton also states in his tweet "...so around 50% dead or injured." We don't see how that can be concluded as there are other reasons some of the crew may not be present beyond injury or death, especially considering the nature of the incident. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the story evolves after Russia put this video forward.
PUBLISHED 3:30 PM EST
The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video Saturday allegedly showing the crew of the sunken Moskva in Sevastopol. The cruiser reportedly sank while being towed to Crimea, and you can read our coverage on the sinking here.
We are not able to independently confirm if the sailors shown in the video are actually part of the Moskva’s crew. The video does not clearly state the number of survivors from the ship, which reportedly had a crew of about 500 onboard when two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles are said to have struck it.
The number visible does roughly match, at the very least, a claim from the Lithuanian defense minister that a Turkish ship rescued 54 Russian sailors from the cruiser.
Despite Moskva’s loss and a lingering anti-ship missile threat, the Russian Black Sea Fleet remains active around Crimea. Satellite imagery showed previously observed landing ships in the area have left, possibly for another amphibious demonstration off the Ukrainian coast.
In the Kyiv area, Ukrainians are finding numerous booby traps of all kinds in areas liberated from Russian occupation, with jury-rigged hand grenades, improvised explosives, and anti-personnel mines in homes and neighborhoods.
Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams are working to clear these areas not only of traps but also unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the weeks of fighting. Those efforts likely won’t be unique to Kyiv with the use of cluster munitions, mines, and heavy fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine as well.
As if the war had not been destructive, traumatic, and unbelievable enough for noncombatants in Ukraine, there is now an added terror of watching their every step upon returning home.
Much of Ukraine was reported to be under air raid warnings on Saturday, with missile strikes and explosions from responding air defenses noted throughout the country.
Fighting along the frontlines and in the besieged city of Mariupol continues despite the war’s overall pace slowing in recent days. There are now reported concerns that Ukrainian artillery stocks could run out despite NATO efforts.
Ukrainian troops have reportedly killed another Russian general, this time Major General Vladimir Frolov, deputy commander of the Southern Military District’s 8th Combined Arms Army. Frolov is reportedly the eighth Russian general killed in its war with Ukraine.
We will continue to update this post throughout the day if more important information comes available.
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