The Kremlin’s puppets declared yesterday that the third world war began because of the death of their Black Sea flagship, and launched a brutal revenge.
Hundreds of sailors are believed to have died after a devastating missile attack on the 12,500-ton vessel Moskva.
There were rumors that missiles were supplied by NATO to Ukraine, and the UK sent anti-ship weapons.
But sources insist the Slava-class cruiser was sunk by Ukrainian Neptune missiles after its radar was diverted by a Turkish-made Byraktar drone.
This was the first time that the Russian fleet had lost a flagship since the battleship Knyaz Suvorov was torpedoed by Japan in the 1905 war.
It was also the largest warship lost since World War II.
President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Olga Skabeeva, told the state-run Russia 1 TV channel: “It’s safe to talk about World War III. It’s absolutely safe.
“We are definitely fighting against the infrastructure of NATO, if not against NATO itself. We must acknowledge this. »
Military expert Dmitry Drozdenko said: “There is a full-scale, multi-layered war with the collective West. »
In response, the Russian war machine fired cruise missiles at a plant outside Kyiv that manufactures and services Neptune weapons.
And for the first time, long-range bombers joined the bombardment of the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Trapped civilians said Russian forces were digging up the bodies and preventing further burials.
The city council sent a message: “Why the exhumation is being carried out and where the bodies will be taken is unknown. “.
Russian soldiers fired on an evacuation bus in a suburb of Kharkiv, officials said, killing at least 27 people.
The attack on Moscow — a major embarrassment for the Kremlin’s military leaders — was a huge morale boost for Ukraine’s hardline militants.
Defense Minister and diving enthusiast Aleksey Reznikov tweeted: “Now we have another diving site in the Black Sea. I will definitely visit the crash site after we win the war.
The 12,500-ton Moskva was armed with 16 Vulkan anti-ship missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but there was no evidence of nuclear bombs on board at the time of its crash.
Her main role in the Black Sea was to command other warships and protect them from air strikes with 64 S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems.
Ukraine said the ship’s captain, Anton Kuprin, 44, died in an “explosion and fire on board.”
At least four other Russian warships moved off the coast in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s blitzkrieg.
Initially, Russia claimed that the ship had a deck fire that ignited ammunition.
He later reported that the cruiser sank during a storm while being towed to a Crimean port.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskash said that Moskva transmitted an SOS signal on Thursday at 1:05 am.
Ten minutes later it was a list, and half an hour later “all the electricity went out,” he said.
He added: “Since 2 am, a Turkish ship has evacuated 54 sailors from the cruiser, and around 3 am, Turkey and Romania reported that the ship had completely sunk. »
He said there was “nothing yet known” about Russian casualties, as there were 485 people on board at the time, including 66 soldiers.
Russia said the crew had been ordered to abandon the ship, and state news agency TASS said the survivors had been taken to a Russian base in Savastopol, Crimea, but did not specify how many.
The ship was supposed to serve a record 60 years until 2040.
Meanwhile, the Russian blitz continued.
Kharkiv came under heavy artillery and rocket fire, setting fire to at least three houses near its botanical garden, a mile from the city center.
Yelena Rukash, 50, and her 14-year-old daughter, Polina, fled to the area, thinking it was safer than their apartment in the bombed-out Saltovka area.
They were in a two-story house with her husband Pavel and 83-year-old father Alexander.
Elena said: “We heard an explosion and the whole house shook.
“We went to the basement, but then we felt the fire and had to try our luck outside. »
Polina managed to save her pet hamster Homer, as hell spread to a neighboring house
The second rocket hit a neighbor’s garage about 50 meters away, engulfing his house in flames.
Nikolai Zmiy, 85, said: “I have lived here all my life. I built my house with my own hands and now I look at it.
“My house has a basement. I thought it was safe, but it couldn’t be safer.