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One serviceman died, 27 missing in action after fire on Moskva missile cruiser - statement

A total of 396 crew members evacuated

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. One crew member of the lost Moskva cruiser died after the detonation of ammunition, 27 servicemen are missing in action, while 396 sailors were evacuated, Russian Defense Ministry announced Friday.

"On April 13, the Moskva missile cruiser sustained serious damage due to detonation of ammunition caused by a fire. Attempts to extinguish the fire were fruitless. During the damage control, one serviceman died, 27 more gone missing in actions," the Ministry said.

"The remaining 396 crew members were evacuated from the cruiser to nearby Black Sea Fleet ships and delivered to Sevastopol," the Ministry said, adding that it provides all necessary support to the relatives and close ones of the dead and missing crew members.

Memorial service to the ensign who died on the cruiser took place in Sevastopol. The ensign died but was able to save hundreds of his fellow servicemen, Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said in his Telegram channel Friday.

"Today, we paid our last respects to Ivan Leonidovich Vakhrushev. […] He died as a hero. He led his team, he evacuated the sailors after the fire started, then went back, shut down the boiler, but did not have enough time to save himself. He performed an act of valor and save lives of hundreds of his fellow servicemen," the Governor said.

"Russian Ministry of Defense is providing all necessary support and aid to the relatives and close ones of the dead and the missing in action," the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the absolute majority of crew members of the lost Moskva cruiser expressed their desire to continue serving on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships, Russian Defense Ministry announced Friday.

"Following a discussion between the Black Sea Fleet command with Moskva cruiser crew members, the absolute majority of officers, ensigns and volunteer service sailors expressed their desire to continue service on Black Sea Fleet ships," the Ministry said.

The Ministry noted that some servicemen expressed their wish to transfer to other garrisons; they will continue service on ships of other fleets.

"Conscript sailors will be dismissed in the reserve after their service term is over," the Ministry underscored.

Following the detonation of ammunition, towing of the cruiser was attempted, but the ship lost stability amid a storm and sank.

The Moskva was the Black Sea Fleet flagship; it was a lead ship of Project 1164. The cruiser was commissioned in 1983 under the name of Slava ("Glory"). Its main weapon was 16 P-1000 Vulkan missile launchers; the cruiser also carried S-300F Fort missile air defense system. Its crew included over 400 servicemen.