This is the first time the Kremlin has acknowledged the loss of military personnel during the incident
The Kremlin has admitted that at least one Russian soldier died in the sinking of the Moskva ship, the first time it has acknowledged casualties in the incident.
Moscow’s Defense Ministry said a crew member died when the ship sank on April 14 and said 27 others were missing and 396 people were rescued.
The Moskva was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine said it sank the ship by firing missiles at it, while Russia claimed it was destroyed by fire on board.
Ukraine has claimed hundreds of seafarers have died, but the exact number of victims is not clear.
The Kremlin had not previously acknowledged any casualties or reported in detail on the event.
The sinking of the ship was a great symbolic victory for Ukraine.
The Moskva is the same ship that called on the Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island to surrender before being given the famous phrase: “Russian warship, fuck yourself.” The Ukrainians had even created a commemorative stamp depicting a Ukrainian soldier who was ship faces.
It was the pride of the Black Sea Fleet and was used to launch precision cruise missiles deep into Ukraine.
The loss of the ship appeared to have repercussions within Russia as well.
Vladimir Solovyov, a hugely popular pro-Kremlin TV presenter, shortly afterwards unleashed a televised tirade in which he said he was “angry” at the news and asked, “How the hell did you manage to lose it?”
Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video purporting to show survivors of the ship on a parade ground in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. But only 150 men were seen, out of an estimated 500 personnel on board at the time.
It is not known when the clip was taken, but it prompted questions about the true fate of those on board.
Photos shared this week showed the Moscow River on fire just before sinking. They appeared to have been fetched from a rescue ship.
Experts noted that the ship’s lifeboats were missing from the photos, suggesting they were deployed during a rescue operation.