The BBC has learned the name of another conscripted sailor from the Moskva cruiser crew. Reportedly, relatives are trying to locate Sergey Grudinin, 21, born in the Amur region. According to his mother, Tamara Grudinina, the Russian Defense Ministry hotline said her son «is alive and well and will be in touch at first opportunity,» while people who introduced themselves as commanders told her over the phone her son had died a few days ago.
Grudinin was born in Ilyinovka, a village of less than 200 peoplein the Amur region. He enlisted in the army. He was assigned to the Moskva cruiser immediately after the training. According to Grudinina, when «the special operation» began, she assumed her son, as a conscript, would be transferred to a safer location. «No, mom, we're all on board the ship,» the sailor informed her. Sergei Grudinin had never signed a contract.
Grudinin last contacted his parents on April 10. He usually called or wrote to his loved ones every two weeks.
Some time later, Grudinin's mother received a phone call from a man who introduced himself as Pavel Vakula, which is the name of the deputy commander of the Moskva cruiser, according to media reports. This name was confirmed by the mother of another conscript.
Vakula reported that Sergei Grudinin was missing. Some timelater, a man, who also introduced himself as the sailor's commander, called and informed Tamara Grudinina about the death of her son.
The woman once again contacted the Defense Ministry's hotline to have the information about her son's death officially confirmed, but she was given the same line as before: Grudinin»is alive, healthy, and will be in touch soon.»
On the evening of April 13, the Ukrainian authorities said that Russian cruiser Moskva had been hit by Neptun missiles. A fire broke out on the ship, which was in the Black Sea south of Odessa. On the evening of April 14, the Defense Ministry said the cruiser sank while being towed to port «due to hull damage from a fire caused by the detonation of ammunition.» It was reported that the entire crew, numbering over 500 people, was «evacuated in a timely manner» to the ships of the Black Sea Fleet stationed in the area.
Earlier, the Agency publication reported another missing conscript who had served on the Moskva cruiser. According to the report the Vkontakte user Ulyana Tarasova wrote her son Mark was missing after the sinking of the cruiser. The journalists also found Mark's Instagram page where he had published his photo wearing a sailor uniform.
Novaya Gazeta Europe spoke to the mother of a sailor who served on the Moskva cruiser. According to her, «about forty people were killed on it, several people went missing, and a lot of people were wounded. The newspaper's interlocutor also said that «the cruiser was hit from the land, from the Ukrainian side.» «Most of the wounded had lost their limbs, because there had been explosions caused by both detonated munitions and rocket hits,» she said. The sailor's mother suggests the Russian authorities are covering up the information about the dead «because the Defense Ministry doesn't want to admit a defeat from Ukraine. It doesn't want to admit such a cruiser was wrecked.»
On April 16, the Russian Defense Ministry showed a video of the crew of the sunken Moskva cruiser meeting with Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy. There are about 100 sailors on the video. Next to Yevmenov (center in the photo) is the captain of the Moskva Anton Kuprin, reported dead by the Ukrainian media. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Igor Osipov, was not at the meeting, Ukrainian intelligence reported he had been arrested immediately after the sinking of the cruiser. Officially, the Defense Ministry did not announce the number of rescued crew members. Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, said there might have been 510 sailors on the ship. The media quoted different data about the number of crew members - from 500 to over 700 people.
On the evening of April 13, the Ukrainian authorities said the Russian cruiser Moskva had been hit by Neptun missiles. A fire broke out on the ship, which was in the Black Sea south of Odessa. On the evening of April 14, the Defense Ministry said the cruiser sank while being towed to port «due to hull damage sustained during the fire from the detonation of ammunition.» The crew was reportedly evacuated to the Black Sea Fleet ships stationed in the area.