How the ship was heading in a known direction: memoirs of a surviving crew member

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More than half a year has passed since the inglorious death of the flagship of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. The Kremlin TV could not admit the loss of the Moskva, so the multilayered lies hid any verified information in their abyss. InfoLight.UA publishes the memoirs of a crew member who survived the successful Ukrainian operation. The memoirs were published on the page of the Russian Volunteer Corps, which is now fighting as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Before the full-scale invasion

My name is Alexander, and I got on the Moskva cruiser long before Putin’s Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Starting in June 2021, the Moskva sailed (or rather, sailed) to the Mediterranean Sea, where it participated in the surveillance of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, during which we had a fire in the AK 630 automatic artillery unit (AAU) ammunition, but at that time the automatic fire extinguishing system was activated and the explosion was avoided.

There were a lot of problems. For example, we had the main Flag radar complex, which is supposed to scan the airspace at a distance of up to 480 km, but in fact, every 30 minutes it overheated and then shut down. In addition to the Flag, the cruiser was equipped with Nadir radar systems located in the bow and stern, as well as Vympel systems on the port and starboard sides.

Absolutely all of the ship’s radar systems were overheating due to improper maintenance and management. The same “Flag” could see nothing but civilian airplanes on the route, or even see an imaginary target. Other radars could barely be seen at a distance of 15 to 45 kilometers.

For all these reasons, before the ship was lost, I had to monitor the airspace using civilian programs on a laptop.

Subsequent trips to the sea ended almost identically – failure after failure. In the fall of 2021. We went to sea to monitor NATO and Ukrainian ships participating in exercises in the Black Sea.

The ship’s artillerymen were tasked with actually hitting an imaginary surface target with the AK-130 and AK-630 artillery systems. By the way, the use of the former resulted in a power outage throughout the ship while the gun was being turned, and the latter in unsuccessful firing and the misalignment of two AK-630 systems (they were supposed to work in pairs, but decided to turn in opposite directions).

In addition to the “excellent technical condition,” there were simply inhumane living conditions for the crew. During a twenty-day trip to the Mediterranean Sea, a person was given one “one and a half cups” of fresh water for three days, in addition to food, but you can’t get drunk with half a cup and one and a half cups for three days. Fresh water was supplied twice a day – in the morning and before retirement. And even then, it was for 20 minutes, and the crew was more than 400 people. This was due to the fact that the water reserves in the tanks were limited, and the desalination machines for on-board water simply did not work (they worked only in documents and reports).

The food was generally tolerable, if you don’t notice cockroaches in the rice and compote. By the way, there was an incident on the tenth day of deployment to the Mediterranean, namely the disappearance of mugs from the dining room, which led to the deputy commander of the ship for educational work, Captain 2nd Class Vakula, punishing everyone by removing all mugs from the dining room before arriving at the base. So they drank from whatever they could find.

If I have touched upon the topic of army idiocy, it is worth telling you about constant training, anxiety, and performing tasks that have nothing to do with reality. All the training and exercises I did on the cruiser were fictitious. Everything was done so that photo reports on the work done would go to Kuprin’s desk (the ship’s commander), and from him up the chain of command.

Photo reports, photo reports, and photo reports again… this is the essence of the entire Russian army. whether you are not able to do your job professionally or not, all that matters is a nice picture and your signature in the combat training log.

This was the case with the “Osa-MA” air defense system, which had been under repair since 2014 and was documented to be in perfect working order.

One of the few manifestations of a sober assessment of the situation was the recognition by the Moscow command of the inoperability of the S-300F Fort air defense system, as there are no missiles for it in the Black Sea Fleet.

We also had a main missile system P-1000 Vulcan in the amount of 16 pieces, which was almost impossible to launch due to insufficient electricity and compressed air. I’m not even talking about anti-submarine weapons.

After the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine

It was supposed to be a routine patrol of oil rigs near the island. Snake, but when we woke up on the morning of February 24, we were informed about the start of a special military operation. Many people could not imagine that morning that Russia would start a real war. My thoughts were only about what was happening in Ukraine, the country where my relatives live. At the time, we did not know about the missile strikes and thought that everything was happening within the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

After a while, the “Moscow” approached Zmeinyi Island, and the ship’s deputy commander for military education, Captain 2nd Rank Vakula, picked up the radio and began his well-known bad speech, in response to which he was sent along with the ship by a Ukrainian border guard.

The AK-130 artillery unit barely worked on the island, and with its last breath the ship went on a raid along the patrol line.

After the events near Zmeinyi Island, the “Moscow” came to the port of Sevastopol, to the base. After talking to the “plainclothes” and signing non-disclosure documents, some crew members were released on leave, but the lion’s share remained, as some sailors were on a secondment to the 810th Marine Brigade, where they were gathered in January to conduct training as part of infantry rifle units. Soon after, those who were on a business trip were sent to the Kherson direction.

And April came.

The cruiser went to sea near Odesa to patrol the waters, at least this information was conveyed to the crew. We had lunch on the ship, and it was 14:15 Moscow time. Half of the personnel were resting in the cockpits, while the other half were on watch and on duty, with no alarms or targets on the radar. Suddenly, there were two loud explosions and the lights went out. At that time, I was in the cockpit and was resting after my watch. Panic broke out, there were no commands or alarms on the broadcast for about ten minutes, and then the senior assistant commander, Captain 2nd Rank Gudkov, announced the gathering of personnel in the ship’s dining room, the appointment of emergency teams and the start of the fight for survival. There was darkness and smoke all around. As it turned out, the first missile hit between the galley and the dining room, and the second between the “Osa-MA” SAM post and the torpedo launcher, which, by the way, is still unclear why it did not detonate.

The XO was informed that it was impossible to gather in the dining room because the blast wave had blocked the corridors and doors and a hole had appeared in the side. It is not entirely clear what exactly the ship’s commander was doing at that time, but the only one who made decisions and did anything at that moment was the first mate.

Then came the next command – for the contractors and midshipmen to throw down life rafts from the upper tiers, and for the remaining officers and midshipmen to evacuate the conscripts to the stern of the ship to be transferred to the frigate Admiral Essen, on board of which at that moment was the commander, Captain 1st Class Tronev.

In general, the fight for survivability lasted until 20:00 and stopped because the fire spread to the command bridge and Vulcan missile systems. At that time, the division commander was on board the cruiser and ordered to stop fighting for survival and evacuate.

During the evacuation, the body of Senior Ensign Vakhrushev was found in a helicopter hangar; he had been leading conscripts out of the holds until the last minute, but he could not save himself. According to the Kremlin, Vakhrushev is the only one who died in the “fire.”

In fact, at least 30 crew members died (according to overly optimistic estimates), mostly conscripts in the holds, the entire galley crew, including the deputy commander of my unit, and possibly those who failed to get out of their posts.

After all these events, we were told the official version: there was a fire. And that’s it. I can’t imagine how cynical people need to be to stand there and blatantly lie to those who have experienced everything on their own, losing their friends and acquaintances.


Once again, everyone signed a non-disclosure agreement, and you may be wondering what the former crew members of the Moskva think. And they think nothing!

A guy from my unit told his family and friends on social media about what happened in the first days after the cruiser was lost, and as a result, he left as far away as he could. He was summoned for a conversation by people with “crusts”, after which he simply stopped contacting and did not report for duty.

Unfortunately, this tragedy did not free the boys from the gloom of propaganda, but rather the opposite. The topic of the death of the Moskva has become almost taboo among the former crew.

What is the result? The last departure of the cruiser was not a combat departure, but only a patrol departure, and therefore none of those on the Moskva received any bonuses or compensation. The Kremlin does not recognize the dead for two reasons: the first is legal: according to the regime, conscripts do not participate in the so-called JFO. The second is pure cynicism: the death of the flagship at the hands of Ukraine, which “has no navy,” is a huge blow to the image of the dictator and his “invincible” troops inside Russia.

I really hope that I was able to help in some way in the fight against the lies that are being poured into the ears of Russians and, despite the fear of being caught or killed, we will fight for the freedom of Ukraine and the liberation of Russia!

Let the enemy know that there are many of us, and we have been in the rear for a long time.

Translation – InfoLight.UA

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