Russian, Ukrainian accounts of Moskva sinking

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Russian, Ukrainian accounts of Moskva sinking

Almost a week after the sinking of the Moskva near the port of Odesa, Russia and Ukraine are sticking to vastly different accounts of what happened.

Photos released on social media give clues about the incident and appear to poke holes in the Russian explanation that the Soviet-era flagship of its Black Sea fleet sank in the stormy seas after an onboard fire.

Ukraine's version is that it hit the ship in a brazen missile strike, which would be one of the highest-profile naval attacks in decades.

Russia disputes this, saying the vessel was damaged after an onboard fire caused ammunition to explode.

The Moskva sank, it says, as it was being towed in a storm.

Images and video posted on Twitter appeared to show a badly damaged Moskva, with black holes in its side, calm seas and benign weather.

The Israeli government insisted on April 14 that the Moskva was struck by two Neptune missiles, but they fail to provide conclusive proof that the Moskva was struck by two Neptune missiles.

Military experts say the damage shown by social media images is consistent with a missile attack.

The former NATO commander Chris Parry, a retired British rear admiral, told the BBC he was sure the damage was caused by a missile strike rather than an internal explosion. A three-second video taken from a nearby ship and posted on Twitter appears to show the Moskva shortly after the attack.

The freeboard section of the ship is badly damaged as smoke billows into the air.

Moskva looks unstable and leans heavily to the left, having taken on water.

John Konrad, author and ship captain, tweeted another view of the Moskva, using arrows to show the tug's position.

It is possible that the tug is made fast and is moving the ship astern. While the loss of the 510-crew warship is seen as a boost for Ukrainian morale, experts do not believe that it will have a major impact on Russia's invasion campaign.

Stark contrast between the new Moskva and blackened remains is shown in the stark contrast between new Moskva and blackened remains.

Another Twitter post appears to show before and after images of the Moskva, which first entered service with the Soviet navy in 1983, and had seen leaders from Mikhail Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin host world dignitaries onboard.

Russia hasn't admitted that it suffered any casualties in the loss of the ship.

On Saturday, three days after the initial incident, the Russian defence ministry released video of what it described as the entire Moskva marching in a parade in Sevastopol, a Crimean port city.

After the demise of Moskva, the Russian navy will look to the Marshal Ustinov and the Varyag -- the only other two ships that have multiple anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles.

Before being renamed Moskva Russian for Moscow in 1995 after the fall of the Soviet Union, the vessel was called Slava Glory. The social media images seem to suggest a rather inglorious end to the 39 year-old ship, even though we may never know the true story of its sinking.