The Russian defence ministry has released footage purporting to show the surviving crew members of the Moskva warship which sunk earlier this week. The loss of the flagship Black Sea cruiser was the most devastating military loss to date for Vladimir Putin. However, the Kremlin has denied claims that Ukraine sank the warship and imposed a virtual news blackout on the sinking.
While Russia admits the country’s most powerful battleship sank, they have blamed it on an explosion of ammunition on board rather than a Ukraine missile strike.
The US has backed up claims that Ukraine sunk the battleship after striking the flagship cruiser with two Neptune missiles.
The latest video shows the head of the Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, meeting with and inspecting the crew members of the sunken warship.
The short soundless 26-second video is the first time any sailors from the ship have been seen since its sinking.
However, the video also raised questions among viewers who noticed that only approximately 100 sailors can be seen in the video.
This is just a fifth of the total 510 crew members on board at the time.
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On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry doubled down on its claim that all crew members survived the sinking, saying that they would “all continue to serve in the Navy”.
Following the video’s release, Ukrainian spokesman Anton Gerashchenko asked where the missing men were but Russia has so far refused to comment.
@Liveuamap, which is tracking the war in Ukraine, tweeted: “Video shows about 50 sailors in the first row, and some sailors in the 2nd row (max: 50).”
People also pointed out that Captain Anton Kuprin, commander of the Moskva, appears in the video.
Ukrainians had previously claimed that Captain Kuprin died in an explosion on board the ship.
This comes after at least one death on board appears to be confirmed within Russia from social media.
A widow of one of the sailors, Ivan Vakhrushev, confirmed that he “died fulfilling his duty” on the ship in a post on the Russian networking site Odnoklassniki.
Varvara Vakhrusheva later told the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that she had been informed by military command.
Ms Vakhrusheva added that at least 27 other crew members of the ship were still unaccounted for.
There was also an unofficial memorial service on Friday in Sevastopol, its homeport, for those who died in the attack.