'Moskva' is the first cruiser lost by Russia since 1941 when the Germans sank Red Ukraine off Crimea,” Professor Evan Mawdsley, a well-known British historian specializing in the history of Russia and the Second World War noted, and was quoted by the BBC.
The first images of the damaged 'Moskva' cruiser appeared on social media on Sunday, and analysts from the open-source secret service suggest they are authentic. They match previous images of 'Moskva', and the details of the crime scene match one of the two competing versions of the ship’s destruction.
***BREAKING*** -> https://t.co/JfGRiqMVf6#Moskva Sinking: Images Reveal Once Powerful Russian Navy Ship On Fire— H I Sutton (@CovertShores) April 17, 2022
First analysis shows fire aft of Vulkan missiles and ahead of S-300 missiles, Possibly this is before a larger explosion
First analysis, caveats apply, OSINT pic.twitter.com/b4FbBHsxLo
Moskva was the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet and the largest ship since World War II. The Russian navy revealed very little information about the circumstances of the ship being wrecked. According to official information from Russian state media, the ‘Moskva’ was badly damaged by an accidental fire and explosion of the magazine and then sank in difficult weather conditions while being towed away. There’s no official number of casualties.
The Ukrainian government claims to have hit 'Moskva' with two domestically produced 'Neptune' coastal defence missiles. The Pentagon has confirmed reports of Ukrainian services about casualties.
The Russian cruiser ‘Moskva’ sank when it was hit by two Ukrainian ‘Neptune’ missiles, a U.S. agency official quoted by Reuters told the U.S. media. It added that Russian sailors were injured in the attack, but their number is unknown.
According to independent analysts, the photos, when verified, appear to match the impact of an anti-ship missile. In the most detailed picture (below) you can see two holes on the middle ship, on the waterline, and just below the funnels on the port side. Significant fire damage can be seen on the decks and the cruiser has a significant list to the port side. According to analysts, black smoke traces at several openings in the hull near the main deck indicate an internal fire in the stern. Two jets of water behind the ship may be coming from the firefighting ship, which may be concealed behind the hangar construction at the stern of the 'Moskva'.
April 15th, 2022, a photo of the Russian cruiser Moskva.— ً (@IntelDoge) April 17, 2022
Holes visible right at the water line. pic.twitter.com/fucEqCkHKB
Another photo of the Moskva pic.twitter.com/251AOogyKB— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) April 17, 2022
Contrary to official Russian reports about the disappearance of the ship, the weather and surface conditions appear to be mild, and the cruiser does not appear to be sailing under a tugboat. There is a lack of life rafts, indicating that an evacuation had already taken place at the time of the recording.
All the aft port side lifeboats appear to have been deployed. pic.twitter.com/cTcmfhbxl5— Oliver Alexander (@OAlexanderDK) April 17, 2022
Although the attack casts doubt on the viability of Soviet air defence systems such as the one aboard the 'Moskva', many marine analysts say that the ship’s final sinking, regardless of the original cause, may reflect the preparation of Russian navy crews for damage recovery scenarios. In recent decades, United States Navy sailors have rescued several warships that suffered similarly (or possibly worse) hull damage, including the USS Cole, the USS Stark, the USS Samuel B. Roberts, the USS Fitzgerald, and the USS John S. McCain.
Two cruisers. Exactly forty years apart. pic.twitter.com/fewQuH91FB— Oryx (@oryxspioenkop) April 17, 2022
Source: Poland Daily 24, Niezależna, Twitter