The captain of a Russian warship that sunk in the Black Sea died in an explosion following a missile strike, according to Ukrainian authorities.
First Rank Captain Anton Kuprin, 44, died during an “explosion and fire on board” the Moskva, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs, said on the messenger app Telegram.
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sank on Thursday while being towed to a port in stormy weather after an explosion and fire onboard, according to Russian news agencies quoted the defense ministry.
Moscow had earlier claimed the 500 crew aboard the Soviet-era missible cruiser was evacuated after ammunition on board exploded, causing the blaze. However, the US has corroborated Ukraine’s claim that it hit the warship with two Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Russia, which has not acknowledged any attack, said the incident is under investigation.
“While the cruiser ‘Moskva’ was being towed to the destination port, the ship lost stability due to damage to the hull from the fire,” the defense ministry said.
“In the stormy sea conditions, the ship sank,” it said.
A senior US official on Friday said they believed that the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was hit by Ukrainian missiles.
The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said these were Neptune anti-ship missiles. The US believes there were Russian casualties, though numbers are unclear, the official added.
The destruction of its missile cruiser has prompted Moscow to threaten Ukraine with intensified bomb attacks and it has claimed they have already destroyed a factory making anti-ship missiles.
Defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said: “High-precision, long-range, sea-based Kalibr missiles attacked a military facility on the outskirts of Kyiv,” said defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.
“As a result of the attack on the Zhulyansky Vizar machine-building plant, workshops for the production and repair of long-range and medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as anti-ship missiles, were destroyed,” he added .
“The number and the scale of missile attacks on objects in Kyiv will be ramped up,” he said.
In other developments, the bodies of more than 900 civilians were discovered in the Kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the area’s police chief has said.
Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. About 95 per cent died from gunshot wounds, I added.
“Consequently, we understand that under the occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Mr Nebytov said.
More bodies are being found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, I added.
The most victims were found in Bucha, where there are more than 350 corpses, the police chief said.
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