A military registration and enlistment office in St. Petersburg has served a draft notice to a sailor from the cruiser Moskva, who went missing in action in April when the cruiser sank as a result of an attack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), reported local newspaper Fontanka, citing the serviceman’s family.
“You may be prosecuted for failing to appear at the specified time and place without a valid reason,” said the notice, which arrived on the young man's birthday at the end of October.
The man worked as a cook on the cruiser and left for military service less than a year ago, the newspaper said. His mother has been trying to obtain information from the authorities about her son for six months. He stopped responding to messages and calls on April 8, when the Moskva left Sevastopol port. The Russian Defence Ministry has not officially reported the death of the sailor.
His friends had contacted the survivors of the attack on the Moskva, who said that the sailor had “gone to the ship's storeroom for food some time before the explosion, and no one saw him afterwards.”
The administration of St. Petersburg's Frunzensky district told Fontanka that military enlistment databases do not always contain up-to-date information.
“If the mistake is confirmed, we will do everything possible to make it up to the relatives. As for the name mentioned, I can't say anything. Unfortunately, we have to live in difficult, fateful times. A lot of people were simply not ready for them. This applies both to people and to the elements of the management system. Events on this scale haven’t taken place for almost 80 years, and many mechanisms, including database synchronisation, have stalled,” the administration said.
On April 13, the AFU hit the Moskva with Neptun missiles. The next day, the Russian Defence Ministry reported that the cruiser sank. The agency initially claimed that one serviceman was killed in the wreck and 27 were missing. Another 396 crew members were said to have been evacuated to Sevastopol.
In November, a court in Sevastopol declared 17 sailors missing from the wreck dead, according to reports. All 17 sailors were listed as “missing” or “declared dead.” According to Article 45 of Russia’s Civil Code, a serviceman who goes missing in action during combat missions may be declared dead no earlier than two years after the end of the war. This means that the sailors were declared dead not as a result of military action.
Dmitry Shkrebets, father of the deceased sailor Yegor Shkrebets, has said that sailors whose relatives did not go to court “are automatically deemed dead after six months.”