October 7, 2022

MYSTERY surrounds the fate of Vladimir Putin’s missing admiral, who may have been on flagship Moskva when it was sunk by Ukrainian missiles a month ago.

Igor Osipov has “not been seen alive” since then, sparking suggestions he was on board the vessel when it was hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, say Kyiv sources. 

Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Igor Osipov has not been seen since the Moskva was sunk

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Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Igor Osipov has not been seen since the Moskva was sunkCredit: East2West
These images purportedly show the damaged cruiser soon after it was ‘struck by Ukrainian missiles’

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These images purportedly show the damaged cruiser soon after it was ‘struck by Ukrainian missiles’Credit: East2West
The footage shows a tug boat near the sinking Moskva

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The footage shows a tug boat near the sinking MoskvaCredit: East2West

Initially, Ukraine claimed the commander had been detained amid fury from Putin over the cruiser’s sinking, while others said he had been suspended. 

This was never confirmed by Russian officials, who this week insisted he was at his “combat post” but “not in the mood” to face the public. 

Osipov, 49, was conspicuously – and unusually – absent from the Red Square Victory Day parade on Monday. He would be expected to attend such an event.

He was also nowhere to be seen at events linked to Black Sea Fleet Day this week. 

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At one event on May 7, he was reported as being present – only for his name to be removed later. 

The governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said: “Our commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Igor Vladimirovich Osipov, is now at his combat post.

“Of course he is not in the mood for social networks and congratulations, but I’m sure he and our Black Sea people feel our support.”

Several sources say Osipov has not been seen “alive” since the Black Sea Fleet flagship was sunk on April 14. 

“The Black Sea Fleet is discussing whether Osipov could have been on board the cruiser Moskva at the time of the attack,” said one pro-Kyiv source claiming to have inside information from the Russian navy. 

And Russian Telegram channel VChK-OGPU said no-one has seen Osipov face to face for a month. 

Osipov’s signature appeared on documents recently but still hasn’t been seen in public.

The Russian defence ministry has claimed the vessel’s sinking was caused by an on-board fire, not a missile strike. 

The Kremlin has so far admitted to one fatality on the Moskva. The west believes many more died.

It is also known that many were wounded and have been receiving treatment in hospitals in several cities. 

The father of a missing and presumed dead sailor on the battleship said after a meeting with top brass last week: “Figures of dead and wounded on the cruiser Moskva will be clarified by the Black Sea Fleet and Ministry of Defence when they consider it expedient.”

Earlier he had accused them of a cover-up over the fate of the crew, around two-thirds of which are believed to have been conscripts. 

Dad Dmitry Shkrebets said: “I hope that the causes of the absurd loss of the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet will be investigated thoroughly by the military prosecutor’s office and the FSB directorate… and the results will be made public to the people of Russia.”

Putin was left fuming when a clip of the Moskva sinking were plastered all over social media.

It showed smoke pouring from the ship’s side and a rescue tug boat sat idly nearby.

Meanwhile, returning Moskva conscripts have recounted that fateful day in April to friends and family, further infuriating Moscow.

One survivor broke down in tears as he told his mum how at least 40 crew members were killed during the attack, with “many missing” and maimed.

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Parents of another conscript say they have found out some 200 were wounded – many with horrific burns and other major injuries.  

The new accounts strongly dispute the official Russian line of how Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea Fleet flagship was lost.

All the lifeboats were missing, which suggests a significant number of crew were able to escape the warship

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All the lifeboats were missing, which suggests a significant number of crew were able to escape the warship
Moskva cruiser pictured leaving Sevastopol on April 10

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Moskva cruiser pictured leaving Sevastopol on April 10Credit: East2West

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