Russian warship sinks after ammunition on board explode

Dramatic pictures – and a credible video – allegedly showing the Russian warship Moskva before it sank last week have appeared online.

The video and images match the shape and design of the missile cruiser.

Russia says a fire onboard caused ammunition to explode and the vessel sank as it was being towed in a storm. Ukraine says it hit it with missiles.

The new images did not immediately back the claims of either side – but there was no sign of a storm at the time.

The images were allegedly taken on April14, a day after Ukraine claimed to have struck the warship.

The three-second video clip – likely taken from a rescue boat – showed the Moskva in the distance listing heavily on her port side.

A tug, likely a Russian Shakhter, was on its right.

Smoke could be seen billowing out of the ship, with a section of the freeboard heavily damaged.

Holes were also visible in other parts of the freeboard in one picture, suggesting the warship had taken in a substantial amount of water.

It also appeared all of the vessel’s lifeboats had been deployed.

Ukraine says it successfully struck the Moskva with two recently-introduced Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles last Wednesday.

Unnamed US officials have told US media they believe the Ukrainian version.

Russia alleged it was damaged after an explosion and subsequently sank because of “stormy seas”.

While conditions could vary at different times, there’s nothing in the video to confirm the Kremlin’s initial assertion that the Moskva sank due to stormy conditions.

Prior to the sinking, Russia’s defence ministry issued a statement saying “the vessel is seriously damaged. The entire crew have been evacuated”.

The BBC has not been able to verify the claims.

However, some have suggested that dark marks – other than around the portholes – point to damage consistent with an attack from the outside.

Russia has also not admitted any casualties. On Saturday, the Russian defence ministry published footage showing what it described as the crew of the Moskva on parade in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.

The 510-crew warship had led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine, which made it an important symbolic and military target. -BBC

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