There are fears that the Moskva’s flagship may have been carrying nuclear cruise missiles when it sank after a Ukrainian missile attack.
Russia’s Black Sea flagship was badly damaged after a Ukrainian attack, causing a major setback for Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Moscow towed the warship back to port – after claims the missile attack instead simply detonated ammunition on board, but it sank in tow “in a storm” not far from port.
However, Ukrainian sources have said that there is real concern that there were several nuclear missiles on board the ship that sank off Sevastopol.
BlackSeaNews editor-in-chief Andriy Klymenko called for an urgent international investigation into whether the Moskva is carrying nuclear weapons.
“Friends and experts say there are two nuclear warheads for cruise missiles on board the Moskva,” he said.
Do you want the latest news and analysis from Ukraine? Sign up for our World News Bulletin here
“Perhaps this is new information for many, but it is true” – the warship is “a carrier of nuclear weapons”.
He asked: “Where are these warheads? Where were you when the ammunition exploded?
“Where is the point on the map, the coordinates?
“This is the responsibility of the UN Security Council and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”
He urged the Black Sea coastal states – Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia – to insist on a statement.
Mykhailo Samus, deputy director of the Lviv-based Center for Army Studies, Conversion and Disarmament, warned: “There could be nuclear warheads on board the Moskva – two units.”
They are in a “protected place” – so “most likely not damaged by the explosion”.
The Ukrainian online newspaper Defense Express also warned of the threat of nuclear warheads from the sunken Moskva.
“The Moscow missile cruiser that overturned and began to sink after being hit by R-360 Neptune missiles is a carrier of nuclear weapons,” reads one report.
“In particular, these are anti-ship missiles P-1000 “Vulkan”, of which the ship has 16 units.
“Each of them can be cumulatively equipped with a nuclear warhead with a capacity of 350 kt or a conventional 500 kg explosive.
“This information is not a secret at all, since this cruiser is designed to destroy aircraft carrier strike groups.
“But the main problem is the placement of P-1000 missiles.
“That is, is nuclear ammunition always on board or is it only loaded on special orders?”
The report continued: “Defense Express interviewed experts, including designers and naval officers, who unanimously and independently gave the following answer: There is a real possibility that the affected flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet could have carried nuclear munitions on board.
“The fact is that the missile cruiser Moskva was part of the permanent standby forces of the Black Sea Fleet.
“As such, it had to put to sea in the shortest possible time after an order to conduct combat missions.
“At the same time, replacing P-500/1000 missiles is far from a trivial task and…requires a lot of time.”
The report states that the ratio of munitions between conventional and nuclear munitions on Russian missile cruisers remains secret.
“In Soviet times there were several rockets of 16 units”.
“In addition to the P-1000 “Vulkan” missiles, the nuclear missile cruiser Moskva could carry other nuclear weapons.
“This is an anti-aircraft missile for the fort complex, a naval version of the S-300, with a so-called ‘special combat unit’.”
Despite Russian claims that the storm sank the ship, locals disputed the story that there were no major storms yesterday.
This has raised the possibility that the warship was intentionally sunk rather than allowed to return to port.
Citing eyewitnesses, the Fontanka news agency reported that the Moskva in tow almost reached its destination in Sevastopol.
Instead of continuing, it seemed to stop somewhere out at sea before disappearing.
Mykhailo Samus/east2west news)
“Residents of Sevastopol claim they saw that it had almost reached the target,” the Fontanka report said.
“The fact that the fire-damaged missile carrier arrived near Sevastopol, locals began to report in the afternoon of April 14.”
An eyewitness named Anatoly said at the time: “It hasn’t been brought into the base yet. Maybe they are afraid of something.”
Local Anna Ogorodnikova beat Russia’s official storm, saying there was “no storm” at the time.
Andrey Sokolov said: “The waves were 0.5 to 1.5 meters high, from 2 points (“weak waves”) to 4 points (“moderate waves”), each on a 9-point scale.
“In a word, it was not calm, of course, but there was no serious sea disturbance in the area of the sunken cruiser Moskva.”
Moscow claimed the crew had been evacuated, but the safety of the more than 500 sailors on the ship has not been independently confirmed.
A video highlighted by online newspaper Msk1 claimed to show the Moskva crew’s cars parked last night outside the checkpoint at the base where the wrecked ship was expected.
If this is correct, it suggests that if the naval crews were all rescued safely by other Black Sea vessels, they have not yet been able to retrieve their vehicles.
“During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the port of destination, the ship lost stability due to damage to the hull that occurred during the detonation of ammunition due to a fire. In the midst of a severe storm, the ship sank,” the Russian Defense Ministry claimed.
The loss of the battleship – seen in a recent image as it left Sevastopol on April 10 – means the number of cruise missiles the Russian Black Sea Fleet can launch simultaneously has fallen from 72 to 56.
A former seaman, Anton, 25, was quoted by Msk1 as saying that the fire protection system on board the Moskva was far outdated and had not been modernized.
“Oxygen bottles are everywhere. This is military gear. There are many things that can catch fire and explode,” he said.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/fears-russian-flagship-moskva-nukes-26718389 Fears Russian flagship Moskva had nuclear bombs on board as it sank after missile attack - World News