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Ukraine war: Images appear to show sinking Russian warship Moskva

    Dramatic pictures, and a credible video, allegedly showing the Russian warship Moskva before it sank last week by Ukrainian force have appeared online. 

Ukraine war: Images appear to show sinking Russian warship Moskva

   The video and images match the shape and design of the missile cruiser. 
 Russia says a fire onboard caused ammunitions to explode and the vessel sank as it was being towed in a storm. Ukraine says it hit it with missiles. 

     The new images do not immediately back the claims of either side - but there is no sign of a storm at the time. 

What do the video and images show? 

 The images were allegedly taken on 14 April, a day after Ukraine claimed to have struck the warship.

The three-second video clip - likely taken from a rescue boat - shows the Moskva in the distance listing heavily on her port side. 

A tug, likely a Russian Shakhter, is on its right. Smoke can be seen billowing out of the ship, with a section of the freeboard heavily damaged. Holes are also visible in other parts of the freeboard in one picture, suggesting the warship had taken in a substantial amount of water. It also appears all of the vessel's lifeboats had been deployed. 

Is there more detail on the cause? 

     Ukraine says it successfully struck the Moskva with two recently-introduced Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles last Wednesday. 

    Unnamed US officials have told US media they believe the Ukrainian version. Russia alleges it was damaged after an explosion and subsequently sank because of "stormy seas". 

    The Sonangol-Muzik showed the footage to naval expert Jonathan Bentham from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who concluded that the vessel in the images was certainly a Slava-class cruiser and "probably" the Moskva. Mr Bentham said the visible damage sustained by the cruiser is consistent with a possible Neptune missile attack, but stressed it was not possible to rule out other causes. 
    "The smoke marks on the portside seem to be near the waterline. That might indicate sea-skimming missiles, which the Neptune missiles are reported to be," Mr Bentham said. Mr Bentham also noted the flung-open hangar doors, which he believes suggests a rushed helicopter evacuation attempt. "You would normally close the doors as good practice to isolate anything in the hangar," Mr Bentham said. 

Weather conditions 

    While conditions can vary at different times, there's nothing in the video to confirm the Kremlin's initial assertion that the Moskva sank due to stormy conditions. Prior to the sinking, Russia's defence ministry issued a statement saying "the vessel is seriously damaged. 

    The entire crew have been evacuated". Sonangol-Muzik has not been able to verify the claims. Russia has also not admitted any casualties. 

    On Saturday, the Russian defence ministry published footage showing what it described as the crew of the Moskva on parade in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. The 510-crew warship had led Russia's naval assault on Ukraine, which made it an important symbolic and military target.

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