PICTURES have finally emerged of Russia’s flagship Moskva sinking in flames as sailors recount having their limbs ripped off during a Ukrainian missile strike.
An anonymous conscript survivor broke down in tears as he told his mum how at least 40 crew members were killed during the attack, with “many missing” and maimed.
Parents of another conscript say they have found out some 200 were wounded – many with horrific burns and other major injuries.
The new accounts strongly dispute the official Russian line of how Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea Fleet flagship was lost.
It comes as deep anger of the families of those missing – and feared dead – has emerged despite efforts by the authorities to silence relatives.
These include conscripts who Putin had vowed were not being sent into the war zone.
The young sailor who witnessed the carnage on the Moskva was revealed by Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading investigative media outlet, now operating from outside the country after being gagged by Putin.
“I first heard from him only on 15 April, two days after the incident,” said the distraught mother.
“My son said the cruiser was hit from the land, from the Ukrainian side, because the fire on board would not have started without a reason.
“There are people who were killed, wounded and missing.
“My son called me as soon as they all were given phones [after being rescued].
“Their own documents and phones were on the [sunken] cruiser.
“He called me, and he cried over what he had seen. It was horrendous. Clearly not everyone survived.”
She said: “Most of the wounded have limbs torn off, because of the explosions from both the missiles and the detonated ammunition.
“My son was crying when he called me on 15 April.
“He said: ‘Mamochka (tender for mum), I never thought I’d get into such a mess during supposedly peaceful times. I won’t even tell you the details of what I’ve seen, it was so horrendous’.”
The mother said: “I don’t want to share his name because I am scared to damage my son.
“They signed non-disclosure agreements before boarding the cruiser.
“Please understand me, I am terrified. I am petrified, and I don’t know how I will wait for my son to return.”
She claimed the Defence Ministry was stopping survivors from going home.
“I’ve no idea how I’ll live through this while waiting for my son to return, waiting for him to finish his service. It’s awful.
“And the [state] media, of course, doesn’t give any details.
“Why? Because the Ministry of Defence doesn’t want to admit defeat by Ukraine. It doesn’t want to admit that such a cruiser sank.”
Separately, a father has vowed to find out the truth about his conscript son Yegor Shkrebets, 20, a ship’s cook on the Moskva, now missing presumed dead.
He expressed the fury of parents who feel they have been lied to by the Russian authorities.
Dmitry Shkrebets, from Yalta in annexed Crimea, said: “It was reported [by Russian state media] that the entire crew had been evacuated.
“It is a lie. A blatant and cynical lie.
“My son is a conscript, and as I was informed by the immediate commanders of the cruiser Moskva, he is not among the dead and wounded and is included in the list of missing.
“A conscript who was not supposed to take part in hostilities is listed as missing….missing on the high seas.
“After my attempts to clarify the data on the incident, the cruiser commander and his deputy stopped communicating.
“I asked directly: How come you, the officers, are alive, and my son, a conscript soldier, died?”
The father said: “They tried to tow the cruiser to Sevastopol, but on the way it suddenly sank.
“Keep thinking for yourselves. I, Dmitry Shkrebets, the father of this conscript Yegor Shkrebets ask everyone who is not afraid and not indifferent.
“Spread this appeal of mine wherever you have the opportunity so that the bastards do not hush up this terrible tragedy.
Most of the wounded have limbs torn off, because of the explosions from both the missiles and the detonated ammunition
Mother of distraught sailor
“Take care of your children, take care of each other.
“And I will devote my whole future life to ensuring that the truth wins in this story.
“A man whose son was taken away in such a vile way is not afraid of anything.”
Yegor’s mother Irina Shkrebets told The Insider that she and her husband had been to a hospital in Skalistaya Bay, where they brought the wounded from the cruiser.
According to her, there were about 200 injured sailors.
In total, according to Irina, there were more than 500 people on the ship.
Irina said: “We looked at every burned [young sailor]. I cannot express how hard it is, but I didn’t find mine.
“There were only 200 there, and there were more than five hundred on the cruiser.
“Where are the others? We turned to Krasnodar, and other [cities], called everyone, but we couldn’t find him.”
Her son had been conscripted in August and was involved in the incident when the Moskva took Snake Island early in the war.
After the Moskva was sunk, she said: “We went to the unit.
“The commander came out, threw up his hands and said: ‘I won’t tell you anything’.
“I said: ‘Where is my son?’ and he said: ‘Well, somewhere in the sea’.
“My husband began to argue: ‘What does it mean in the sea? Where have you been?’”
But unit commander refused to answer.
“These commanders were not on the ship.”
The parents also tried to get an answer from the FSB – Russia’s domestic security agency – but were knocked back.
“We arrived at the FSB in Sevastopol, where even a man refused to come out – they were standing behind the fence,” Irina said.
“My husband shouted: ‘Come out and call the police. Let me punch you in the face.’
“He didn’t even come out, behind bars he showed his hands criss-crossed, to say goodbye, that’s all.
“This is the service of the navy and the FSB of Sevastopol.”
They tried to get the authorities to show them the list of the dead and missing, but were refused.
A commander who was on the ship also contacted Irina.
She recalled: “I said: ‘Can you at least tell me how my son died?’
“And he said: ‘I don’t know anything, they were at the supply post. We had missiles all over the cruiser.’
“He could not say and somehow did not say that a missile had actually hit the cruiser.”
Media outlet Agentstvo identified another conscript Mark Tarasov, 24, called up after studying at university.
His mother Ulyana Tarasova, 47, posted on her page on VK on April 17: “My son, Tarasov Mark, went missing on the Cruiser Moskva.”
Her son graduated from St. Petersburg State Transport University and was called up in autumn 2021.
She posted pictures from the railway station when she saw him off to military service.
Taras himself posted pictures with the caption: “See you in a year”.
Agentsvo got in touch with the woman – a friend – who was pictured with Taras on one of the farewell pictures.
She confirmed that he had gone to service in the navy.
Naval chief Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, 60, admitted at the weekend that there had been conscripts on board – despite assurances from the Kremlin that they would not fight in the war.