There are conflicting reports about how the vessel sank, and new images have emerged showing the severely damaged vessel Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.
While an image shows the Slava-class cruiser listing toward the port side, another shows the ship on fire, smoke emanating from it. Both images were seen on social media Sunday.
There is no official verification of the images, but open-source intelligence analysts and trackers suggest that the photos appear to be authentic. International Business Times could not independently verify the images.
Ukraine claims that the 40-year-old cruiser was hit by a Neptune anti-ship missile in the Black Sea. The Pentagon has confirmed Ukraine's account of the casualty. A day later, Russia announced it had lost Moskva after it sunk while being towed to the port after an explosion.
The new images reportedly match with the previous Moskva images and the Ukrainian version of the vessel's sinking. According to The Drive, the damage to the vessel is clear, with what appears to be a scaring on its side, precisely where most anti-ship cruise missiles are supposed to hit. There is damage below the water level.
Near the area where the missile was struck are P - 500 or P - 1000 anti-ship missiles in their armored launch tubes. The detonation of these missiles could cause major destruction, as well. The upper hull edges are seen scorched, which indicates fire damage inside. There are also suggestions that life rafts have been deployed. A couple of water cannons can be seen still running on the ship, while two streams of water behind the ship may be from the monitors of a firefighting tug, said reports.
There are some discrepancies too. The image shows a calm sea, even though Russia claims the ship sank while being towed back to her home port of Sevastopol. It isn't clear when the images were taken and the weather could have changed throughout the day. The cruiser does not seem to be making way undertow, as maintained by Russia, which is also conflicting.
The Russian Defense Ministry recently published a video showing the meeting of Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, with the crew members of Moskva. While the 26-second video shows Yevmenov and two other officers standing outside in front of around 100 sailors on a parade ground, it provided no other details, sparking debates about the validity of the video.
Defense analyst H I Sutton said on Twitter that he doesn't believe that the footage was old. The footage showed that the captain was alive and there were 240 crew members in the video, so around 50 percent were dead or injured, Sutton said. Many people claimed the video was fake and taken a year ago.