The Russian military removed the bodies of dead sailors and classified documents from the cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to Sevastopol after a fire onboard, Vadym Skibitskiy, spokesman of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told Krym.Realii.
According to Skibitskiy, Russia engaged five to seven ships to conduct a rescue operation on the Moskva cruiser, which lasted at least two weeks. The Russian Defense Ministry did not report on the operation.
«Basically, they used rescue ships, boats, tugboats to get the bodies, to remove all the classified equipment and to clean up the cruiser – they took what was left there and what should not fall into the hands of a third country,» the GUR spokesman explained.
Following the news of the sinking of the cruiser, the conscripts' parents began searching for information about the survivors and the dead. Thus, on April 17, Dmitry Shkrebets said on his VKontakte page his son had been reported missing. The sailor's father accused the Russian Ministry of Defense of lying about what had happened to the ship, and his wife told The Insider she visited the hospital in Rocky Bay, where the wounded from the cruiser had been brought. There she saw about 200 injured sailors. In total, according to the mother of the missing sailor, there had been over 500 people on the ship. The mothers of the conscripts who had served on the Moskva cruiser were asked to sign documents saying their sons had died «in accident».
On the evening of April 13, the Ukrainian authorities stated that 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 caused by the detonation of ammunition. The crew was reportedly evacuated to the nearby ships of the Black Sea Fleet. On April 16, the Russian Defense Ministry showed a video of the crew of the sunken cruiser Moskva meeting with Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. There are about 100 sailors in the video.