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19 June, 06:49 PM

Russia refuses to recognize death of 27 crew members of sunken cruiser Moskva, says Ukrainian intelligence

Russia refuses to officially acknowledge the deaths of 27 crew members of the sunken Russian cruiser Moskva, including 19 conscripts, instead considering them missing, reported the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on June 19 on Telegram messenger.

The intelligence service notes that Russian officials and special services continue to force the families of the Moskva sailors to hide information about how their relatives actually died. Only one midshipman, Vakhrushev, has been officially buried in occupied Sevastopol.

The commander of the Moskva, First Rank Captain Kuprin, who was one ofthe first to leave the ship in, explains his abandoning the ship as an at-tempt to save conscripts crewing the vessel. Kuprin claims he was under orders to do so.

Meanwhile, relatives of the dead sailors have been denied access to the command of the Russian Navy and the command of the Black Sea Fleet, as well as the authorities and social security, according to Ukrainian intelligence. They are instead referred to a group of psychologists, doctors, and lawyers, who had been specially gathered to cover up information about the dead and missing conscripts.

"After learning about the relatives' desire to publish information about the victims in the media, FSB officers came to their homes and places of work and carried out ‘explanatory work’ with threats of criminal liability for divulging state secrets,” Ukrainian intelligence said.

“Social tensions among relatives of Russians killed on the Moskva cruiser continue to rise.”

Earlier, HUR reported that the families of sailors from the cruiser Moskva were being forced to withhold information about their dead relatives to prevent information leaks.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian news outlet, citing two mothers of "missing" sailors, said they had been asked to voluntarily declare their sons "dead following a disaster.”

On April 13, the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck the missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, with anti-ship Neptune missiles, causing massive damage to the vessel. On the evening of April 14, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that the cruiser had sunk.

On April 16, the Russian Defense Ministry published a video of a meeting between the commander-in-chief of the Navy and "cruiser sailors" who had been allegedly evacuated. Part of the video lacked audio. Independent Russian news site The Insider counted about 100 sailors in the video.

U.S. state-funded news outlet Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty received a photo from the mother of one of the sailors, which may indicate that the video was actually taken before the sinking of the cruiser.

At the same time, according to Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, the crew counted 510 members, and only 58 of them were rescued.

The victims’ parents began to report the probable death of their sons, many of whom were conscripted, on the cruiser. Russia has officially recognized the death of one person, while another 27 are considered "missing". Russian publication Agency.Novosti reported that up to half of the crew of the destroyed cruiser may have been conscripts.

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