Two newspapers and a geopolitical strategist, Mykhailo Samus, warned on Friday that the ship could pose a nuclear threat if the Russians did not remove the nukes.
“On board the Moskva could be nuclear warheads—two units,” Samus said. “Where are these warheads? Where were they when the ammunition exploded?”
Samus said Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey, all of which border the Black Sea, must demand Russia’s cooperation in locating the nuclear warheads and ensuring that a nuclear threat does not exist.
The Black Sea News, a European-backed newspaper, and the Defense Express, a Ukrainian paper, echoed the same concern.
Defense Express said it “interviewed experts, including designers and naval officers, who unanimously and independently gave the following answer—there is a real possibility that the affected flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet could have had nuclear munitions on board.”
The experts did not know whether Moskva always contains nuclear warheads or whether they are “loaded only by special order.”
Russian authorities said that an onboard fire reached ammunition and caused an explosion, while Ukrainian authorities said that its missiles sunk the ship.
The Moskva had 510 sailors onboard during the explosion, but only 58 have been located, the Daily Mail reported.
Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian politician and political exile, said he believes that Russia lost 452 sailors, but Russian authorities said that the ship was “successfully evacuated.”
An anonymous Western official said the Moskva’s destruction shows that Russia does not have a competent military.
“This is supposed to be a military which has modernized itself over the last decade,” the official said. “The Ukrainians have used their imagination and proved so resourceful. They are able to act on the fly to have an effect on Russian forces.”