Mystery is growing over the fate of Vladimir Putin’s Black Fleet chief, Admiral Igor Osipov, who has ‘not been seen alive’ since the sinking of the Moskva warship one month ago.
There are now suspicions that the commander was on board the vessel when it was hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, say Kyiv sources.
Initially Ukraine claimed that the admiral was detained amid fury from Putin over the cruiser’s sinking.
Mystery is growing over the fate of Vladimir Putin’s Black Fleet chief, Admiral Igor Osipov (picture date unknown)
Other claims were that 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 absent from the Red Square Victory Day parade on Monday, which he would routinely be expected to attend.
He was also nowhere to be seen at events linked to Black Sea Fleet Day this week.
At one event on 7 May, 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.
There are now suspicions that the commander was on board the Moskva warship when it was hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, say Kyiv sources (stock photo used)
‘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.’
Despite this, several sources say that Osipov has not been seen ‘live’ since the Black Sea Fleet flagship was sunk on 14 April.
‘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 name has appeared as if he signed documents recently – but evidently he has not been seen in person.
Osipov, 49, was conspicuously absent from the Red Square Victory Day parade on Monday, which he would routinely be expected to attend. Picture date not known
If he was on the warship, his fate would be covered by the obfuscation the Russian defence ministry has thrown over the incident, which it claimed was caused by an on-board fire not a missile strike.
Russia has so far admitted to one fatality on the Moskva, when it is clear many more were killed.
It is also known that many were wounded and have been receiving treatment in hospitals in several cities.
The father of a missing – presumed dad – 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.
The father – 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.’
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Admiral Igor Osipov, Black Fleet chief, has ‘not been seen alive’ since the sinking of the Moskva warship one month ago. There are now suspicions that the commander was on board the vessel when it was hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, say Kyiv sources.
Major General Andrei Simonov (picture date unknown) was an electronic warfare commander