Mothers of dead conscripts from Russia’s sunken Moskva asked to accept sons’ deaths in ‘accident’ at sea

24 May, 03:57 PM
The Russian Defense Ministry is trying to recognize the sailors from the cruiser Moscow dead by accident (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

The Russian Defense Ministry is trying to recognize the sailors from the cruiser Moscow dead by accident (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Two mothers of Russian sailors from the Russian missile cruiser the Moskva, which Ukraine destroyed with missiles in April, have said they are being asked to recognize their sons’ deaths as having been caused by an “accident.”

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Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wrote that more than a month since the Moskva cruiser, a vessel able to carry up to 500 in personnel, was destroyed in the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry still doesn’t recognize this fact. Its bureaucrats have admitted so far only one person died and 27 are missing.

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Meanwhile, the parents of the sailors who died on the Moskva cruiser have confirmed the deaths of at least 40 individuals.

At this point, it’s unclear how many people from the Moskva survived and how many were able to escape the sinking warship.

A military recruitment office in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula Russia invaded and started to occupy in 2014, informed the mother of one of the Moskva servicemen that her son is on a list of those whose whereabouts are unknown.

“Murtazaev, Muhammed Serverovich, who served as a conscript, went missing after an accident at sea that involved the Moskva cruiser on April 13, 2022,” reads the office’s letter.

The mother of another sailor received a similar letter. She asked not to disclose her last name.

The Russian Defense Ministry has asked parents of those who died or who went missing to sign documents recognizing that there was an “accident’ with the Moskva, but not its participation in Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine – as the Kremlin coyly calls its unprovoked war of aggression.

“I was told that my son is neither on the list of those who are missing, nor on the list of those who were wounded or who died,” one of the mothers told Novaya Gazeta.

“I asked what this means. I got the response: ‘It means he’s still conducting his service.’ Then I get talking and I hear a speech about heroes, military action and so on. And it’s, like, really important that we admit our kids to be dead ourselves. I asked why the Defense Ministry isn’t putting my son on any of the lists? Then they tell me he’s still conducting his service. The commander was really surprised by my question and assured me he would check this one more time. I asked another question: is there any probability that sailors like my son were able to survive, that they had any boats, that they could be taken by a sea flow to a different place? The commander looks at me and almost laughs. ‘No, that’s impossible,’ he said.”

On April 13, Ukraine’s Armed Forces hit the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, with two Neptun anti-ship missiles. The cruiser sank after being hit by the missiles. Russia at first said there was a fire on board the ship and that is was returning to port, but on the evening on April 14 the Russian Defense Ministry admitted that the Moskva had sunk.

On April 16, the Russian Defense Ministry published a video showing a meeting of the head of Military Fleet with Moskva sailors who were able to evacuate. Part of the video didn’t have any sound, so it was impossible to hear what was said.

The Insider, a Russian website, counted as many as almost 100 sailors in the video.

Radio Liberty, a U.S. media network, received a photo from a mother of one of the sailors that proves the video of the meeting might had been shot prior to the sinking of the Moskva.

Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s Security Council secretary, said the Moskva had a crew of 510 individuals, while only 58 were rescued.

The parents of those who likely died have started making the information public. Russia has officially admitted only one death related to the Moskva, while 27 others are considered to be missing.

Agentstvo.Novosti, a website, has estimated that up to a half of Moskva crew were conscripts – young men who were forcefully mobilized to serve in the Russian military.

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