In recent days we have received dozens of questions about the situation around the Moskva cruiser to our email, with even more questions have been asked in the comments.
Is the cruiser’s captain dead?
No, the cruiser’s captain is alive and took part in the general formation of the cruiser’s crew in Sevastopol yesterday.
Reports about cruiser’s captain death are a fake, spread by Ukrainian resources.
Is it true that some seamen of the cruiser Moscow were rescued by a Turkish merchant ship?
Probably, no, this information does not correspond to available facts.
Were there any casualties on the cruiser?
Probably, yes. The possible number of casualties is estimated from 3 to 24 people from the ship’s fire-fighting and survivability departments.
- The cruiser had a total crew strength of 510.
Was the cruiser hit by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles or did it sink as a result of a fire caused on board due to negligence or systems malfunction?
This question does not have an obvious answer.
It is likely that a missile strike took place. But 1-2 Ukrainian anti-ship missiles are definitely not the direct cause of the sinking of the ship.
Firstly, a ship of this class can be sunk if an ISCM hits the key components of the ship at the waterline level or hits the main missile warhead, which is obviously not stored “on the deck”. In this case, a significant part of the ship’s crew would be killed.
On 16 April 2022, the Russian MOD released a photo and video of the crew formation in Sevastopol, showing the crew of the cruiser, including the captain, in formation. Also, in the Russian social networks, the Ukrainian side and NATO propagandists could not find any meaningful information about the death of the cruiser’s crew, except for a couple of unconfirmed facts. It should be clearly understood that we live in the information age and almost everyone has dozens of relatives and friends who have accounts in social networks and are worried about their loved ones. For example, the Ukrainian segment of social networks is now full of information about dead or surrounded AFU soldiers in Mariupol (thousands of messages), whose numbers are estimated at up to 2,500, which is only 4-5 times the number of the cruiser’s crew. Consequently, the crew of the cruiser Moscow probably suffered little or no damage.
The question therefore arises as to what really caused the sinking of the cruiser. It seems that there are only two possible answers to this question.
It is either the inability of the cruiser’s fire-fighting equipment to cope with the fires caused by the missiles within hours. Or the attack of a NATO submarine, coordinated with the missile strike of Ukrainian ISCMs. The first scenario seems the most likely.
Were NATO forces involved in the attack on the Russian cruiser?
If we take as a matter of fact the attack on the cruiser by Ukrainian ISCMs, then definitely yes.
The reconnaissance and targeting of the missiles could not have been carried out by the available means of the AFU. Clearly, the entire operation was coordinated and controlled by the US headquarters.
- Separately, the restrained reaction of Ukraine’s top leadership should be noted.
For what reason were the cruiser’s air defences unable to repel a 1-2 missile strikes or was the crew unable to cope with the fire on board?
The cruiser Moscow was a missile attack ship. Its own air defence capability was limited by its combat purpose and the specifics of its construction.
- The cruiser was launched 43 years ago.
The air defence coverage of the cruiser was to be provided by escort ships, just as is done with US aircraft carriers or large attack ships of other countries. As for the fire on board, problems with the fire-fighting system have been reported previously on large Russian ships.
Why wasn’t the cruiser Moscow attacked earlier?
The attack on the cruiser made no military sense, only political one.
Against the background of a one-off surrender in Mariupol of an unprecedented number of servicemen since the Second World War, Kiev had a vital need for a worthwhile response, at least in the information environment. Unlike Moscow, Kiev and Washington rightly see the importance of information engagement in modern warfare. To all appearances, this operation had been prepared in advance and the trump card was laid out at the due time.
Why was the Moskva cruiser alone, without escort ships? Will the admiral who gave such an order be punished? Why did the Russian Ministry of Defence not assume that the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet with the iconic name “Moskva” would be a priority target during the war?
- To these and other similar questions, we have no answers. Only time can provide them.