Pictured: Russian conscripts believed to have died on the Moskva warship despite Putin declaring anyone serving compulsory service would not be sent to war
- The young naval sailors are missing and presumed dead after being on board Moskva warship when it was hit by two Ukrainian missiles
- Parents are demanding punishment for those who sent them to their deaths
- Putin had assured Russians that he will not send conscripts to fight in Ukraine
New pictures have emerged showing Russian conscripts who are believed to have died on the Moskva warship despite Vladimir Putin declaring that anyone serving under compulsory service would not be sent to war.
The young naval sailors, many of whom are 19-years-old, are missing and presumed dead after being on board the stricken flagship when it was hit by two Ukrainian missiles in the Black Sea.
Now their parents are demanding retribution for the ‘war crime’ and punishment for the ‘scumbags’ who sent them to their deaths in one of the biggest displays of Russian outrage at Vladimir Putin’s war seen so far.
On March 8, Putin specifically assured Russian mothers that he will not send conscripts or reservists to fight in Ukraine and that only ‘professional’ soldiers were taking part in the conflict.
But Naval chief Nikolay Yevmenov, 60, admitted at the weekend that there had been conscripts on board the stricken Moskva flagship which sunk to the bottom of the Black Sea and now pictures have emerged of eight conscripts who are missing and presumed dead – despite the Kremlin’s assurances.
The eight conscripts who have been pictured are: Nikita Efremenko, 19, from Priozersk, Leningrad region; Andrey Tsyvov, 19, from Crimea; Nikita Syromyasov, 20, from Crimea; Leonid Savin, 18 or 19, from Alupka; Yegor Shkrebets, 20, from Yalta; Mark Tarasov, 24, from St Petersburg; Sergey Grudinin, 21, from Amur region; and Danil Gerok, 22, from Lobnya, Moscow region.
Leonid Savin, who is 18 or 19, and Andrey Tsyvov, 19, were both conscript sailors and went missing after the Russian flagship Moskva sank
The young naval sailors, including Nikita Efremenko, 19, (left) and Danil Gerok, 22, (right) are missing and presumed dead after being on board the stricken flagship when it was hit by two Ukrainian missiles.
Angry parents have hit out at ‘lies’ and ‘bullying’ by the authorities over their conscript sons who Putin had promised would not be sent into the hot war. Pictured: Nikita Syromyasov, 20, who was on the flagship when it sank
Images have emerged which appear to show the Russian warship Moskva heavily damaged and on fire in the Black Sea shortly before it sank last week
One more conscript’s name is known with no picture – Igor Kutnyak – and there are likely to be many more who perished on the Moskva, or were maimed with appalling wounds.
Angry parents have hit out at ‘lies’ and ‘bullying’ by the authorities over their conscript sons who Putin had promised would not be sent into the hot war.
Russia has still not revealed how many survived and died from the 510-strong crew in the attack on 14 April.
But horror accounts of the sinking have started to emerge from conscripts serving on board the ship, with one telling his parents that at least 40 members of the crew were killed with ‘many’ left missing or maimed with lost limbs after the strike. Hundreds are thought to have died as the vessel went down.
Some relatives have been warned they will not get financial ‘compensation’ for their loved-ones’ deaths if they go to the media.
Despite this, Dmitry Shkrebets, father of Yegor Shkrebets, 20, who was a chef onboard, has vowed to find out the truth about what happened to the warship and those onboard. But he said he has been faced with a wall of obfuscation from the Russian authorities.
He has slammed the ‘lies’ and demanded punishment for the ‘scumbags’ who sent the ‘boys’ – forced into compulsory military service – to their deaths.
‘All the guilty should be punished for what they did. Or rather, what they didn’t do,’ he told Current Times.
‘Because these boys – 19-20 years old – should not have been there during these operations. They should have been landed in Sevastopol.
‘When it all happened, yes, I found out that no one had landed them since the [start], they were on the ship the whole time.
‘But if I then started making all this noise, then this would be the disclosure of secret information.’
Russia has still not revealed how many survived and died from the 510-strong crew in the attack on 14 April. Pictured: Yegor Shkrebets, 20, and Mark Tarasov, 24, who were both conscripts who went missing after the Moskva flagship sank
Sergey Grudinin, 21, conscript sailor, went missing after the Moskva cruiser sank
He stressed: ‘We must open all this abscess and punish all those responsible, why the boys were not dropped off. Whatever happens, scumbags have no nationality.
‘A war crime has occurred and all those involved must be punished.’
The distraught father is pleading with Russian media outlets to highlight their plight – despite the real risk of punishment by the authorities.
‘Thanks to the kind people who post [our messages],’ he said. ‘And it doesn’t matter to us what kind of media it is, because for [the state] media, neither our ‘missing’ children-sailors, nor, accordingly, we, their parents exist. We are not here…’
None of their parents have been definitively told the fate of their children but all know in their hearts now that their sons are dead, even if they cling to desperate and unrealistic hopes.
One frantic mother, Olesya Dubinina, is demanding a rescue operation in the hope her son, Nikita Syromyasov, is still alive, trapped in a sealed air bubble in the wreck.
‘We urgently need to start a rescue operation. For sure, when it sank there were still living people – wounded, unconscious. For sure, there are battened down parts of the ship that have not been flooded,’ she said.
Tatyana Efremenko, mother of Nikita Efremenko, said: ‘Every day I call the commander, every day I call Moscow. Nothing. No announcements. I’m going there myself tomorrow morning.
‘I want to visit all the hospitals. I have a one way ticket. I don’t know when I’ll be back. If the defence ministry does not help, then we must go and look for them ourselves.
‘The only thing they told me was that my son was on duty in the dining room at the time of the fire. I’m tired of fighting on the phone.’
She said: ‘It’s just scary. It’s so scary that I don’t understand how this was allowed. I don’t understand what the conscript children were doing on the Moskva…it is beyond the limit.’
Another bereft mother Tamara Grudinina told the BBC Russian service that she received a call from her son Sergey Grudinin’s ‘commander’.
‘[The commander] said he led them out in a chain, the chain broke, and ‘your son remained on the ship…he sank along with the ship’.’
She added: ‘I’m telling the commander called Vakula: ‘How can it be? I entrusted my son to you, how could you do it yourself, how can we live now?
‘And he says …. As if, you know, leave us alone. Not even regrets. As if we are some kind of dogs.’
A relative of Leonid Savin said: ‘I was told he was dead. And [then] they called and said that he was missing, as if they were mocking. His brother was told that he died, when he asked what is about the funeral, they said that actually nothing is clear.
‘Now he called and was told that he was missing [at sea]. I cannot understand anything now.’
The pictures seem to contradict Russian accounts of the sinking, after Moscow claimed the warship sank in choppy seas while being towed to the port of Sevastopol following an explosion on board
The parents of another conscript were told their son was ‘alive’, and a day later that he was missing. Next came a notification that he had died.
They pleaded: ‘What’s going on? Why are we being bullied like this?’
Yulia Tsyvova, mother of Andrey Tsyvov, said: ‘No-one can say anything – they shrug.’
This comes amid claims that the captain abandoned the warship before securing the safety of his crew after the Russian naval vessel was hit by Ukrainian missiles.
First Rank Captain Anton Kuprin, 44, reported as dead by the Ukrainians, appears to have survived after abandoning his ship while others struggled for life on board.
He was reportedly filmed at the weekend after his escape, although footage from the Russian Defence Ministry cannot be verified.
His evident return to his loving family has infuriated parents of low-ranked sailors who cannot even get information on whether their conscript sons, who by law should not have been sent to war, are alive or maimed or, missing presumed dead or known to be dead.
Two sailors – not conscripts – now confirmed as dead are Vitaly Begersky, who was keeping watch on the starboard side of the Moskva, and midshipman Ivan Vakhrushev.
His wife Varvara Vakhrusheva said he had died while ‘carrying out his duties’.
She said: ‘His body was found.’
Some parents have been told by commanders that the view not to send conscripts into battle did not apply because the Moskva was hit ‘in neutral waters’.
Yet the same warship – with the same crew – was active earlier in blitzing Snake Island in one of the first acts of the bloody war.
Moments earlier, Ukrainians on the island had told the captain of the Moskva: ‘Russian warship go **** yourself.’
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