The captain of the Moskva missile cruiser died in the catastrophe it faced in the Black Sea, Ukrainian officials have claimed.
First Rank Captain Anton Kuprin, 44, was reportedly killed after the ship was fatally holed by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, according to Kyiv sources.
The Moskva was one of Vladimir Putin's largest ships and had already been used to devastating effect in the conflict, most notably at Snake Island.
After asking the defenders of the island to surrender, the Moskva's captain was told to "go f*** himself" by the brave soldiers.
Kuprin gave the order to bombard Snake Island on the first day of the war.
He “died during an explosion and fire on board the former flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation,” said Anton Gerashenko, advisor to the Kyiv interior ministry.
The official added: “We do not mourn.”
Other sources support the claim that Captain Kuprin was killed.
Russia has claimed that the crew was evacuated but there are increasing fears for lost lives on the battleship.
A “farewell ceremony” to the cruiser is due to be held in Sevastopol today at a monument in honour of the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet.
There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow on Kuprin, but Russia has failed to announce many prominent military deaths in the 51-day war.
Russian warship Moskva 'had nukes on board' when it was sunk by Ukraine
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Exiled Russian politician Ilya Ponomarev, 46, who eight years ago was the only MP to vote against Vladimir Putin ’s annexation of Crimea, said today he believes only 58 out of a usual crew number of 510 survived the Moskva disaster.
There are also reports that Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, has been detained over the loss of the flagship.
It comes following fears that the Moskva ship may have had nuclear cruise missiles on board when it sank.
Moscow was towing the warship back to port – after claiming the missile attack was simply ammunition exploding on board instead but it sank under tow “in a storm” not far from port.
However, Ukrainian sources have said that there is a real worry that there were several nuclear missiles onboard the vessel which sank off Sevastopol.
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