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Kremlin Says Not 'Authorized' to Discuss Moskva Warship Missing Crew

A memorial event for the Moskva guided missile cruiser in Sevastopol. Sergei Malgavko / TASS

The Kremlin refused Tuesday to reveal any details about casualties suffered from the sinking of Russia's guided-missile cruiser Moskva, as parents called for the truth about their missing children. 

The flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet sank last week after an explosion and fire that Ukraine said was caused by a successful missile strike and Russia said was the result of exploding munitions.

Russian authorities said the crew had been evacuated from the warship — which is able to carry up to 680 sailors — but gave no other details. 

After the Moskva sank parents and other family members of sailors who served aboard — including conscripts — took to social media, saying their children had gone missing and that they needed answers. 

Asked to comment on the situation, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Tuesday the Kremlin was not at liberty to reveal any details.

"All communication is only through the Defense Ministry," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "All information regarding this is issued by the Defense Ministry and here we are not authorized to release anything."

Several families have said on social media or in statements to independent Russian or foreign press that they cannot find their children who were serving on the Moskva.

Dmitry Shkrebets said that his conscript son Yegor was a cook on the ship and was now listed as missing in action. 

"A conscript who was not supposed to take part in hostilities is listed as missing," he said in a post on VKontakte, Russia's largest social network.

He said that after he tried to learn more about the tragedy, the commander of the cruiser and his deputy had gone incommunicado.

On Monday, Shkrebets said that he had been in touch with three more families whose conscripted sons had also gone missing after the sinking.

"We need written answers to our questions about the location of our children," Shkrebets said.

Meduza, an independent Russian-language news website, citing a source close to the Black Sea command, said 37 members of the Moskva's crew had died.

Around 100 men were wounded while the precise number of missing is unknown, the publication said.

Some 500 people were on board when the Moskva was hit, Meduza said, citing the source.

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