THE Russian warship Moskva which was sunk by Ukraine may have been carrying a piece of the True Cross, a Russian Orthodox priest has claimed.
The whereabouts of a piece of the True Cross, what believers say is the wood of the cross Jesus was crucified on, have been called into question.
It comes while the Christian world celebrates Easter which marks Jesus’s death and resurrection.
In early 2020, the Russian Orthodox Church said the tiny relic which had belonged to the Catholic Church had been bought by an “anonymous patron of arts,” according to the state-run Russian news agency TASS.
"It was their will to send the relic to the [Black Sea] fleet. The Moskva cruiser has an onboard chapel, where services take place," archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Sevastopol District Sergiy Khalyuta told TASS.
The relic, made out of wood chip, is only several millimetres long, the church said.
Read More on the Ukraine War
Live Ukraine war updates as Putin’s Russian flagship warship sinks
Mystery as Putin defence chief has heart attack ‘NOT from natural causes’
It is embedded into a 19th-century metal cross, which is then stored in a special reliquary – or a container for such relics.
According to the church, in the February 26, 2022, report, the relic had been delivered to Vice-Admiral Igor Osipov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, and would be delivered to the guided-missile cruiser Moskva cruiser "shortly."
The location of the piece of the True Cross is unclear.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials claimed their forces had hit the Moskva with missiles during the war with Russia.
Most read in The Sun
Nicola Peltz reveals she's DEVASTATED as she breaks silence
Love Island's Georgia Steel looks so different as fans accuse her of nose job
Harry & Meghan visit Queen & Charles for 'olive branch' talks after Philip snub
Love Island's Zara McDermott shares surprise pregnancy announcement
Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but not any attack.
The news comes after fears were raised the Moskva was also carrying nukes and could now by lying on the seabed.
The sinking of the Soviet-era Moskva in the Black Sea prompted Russia to launch a furious retaliation, later claiming to have blitzed the factory which made the missiles that sunk their prized flagship.
The defence ministry said it had rocketed the 'Vizar' plant on the edge of Kyiv on Thursday night which it says manufactures Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Moskva – a 40-year-old symbol of Russian military might – was left a smouldering wreck after taking two direct missile hits in the attack and later went down as it was being towed to naval port Sevastopol in Crimea.
Latest reports from Ukraine on Friday say the captain of the Moskva died in the humiliating missile attack.
REPORTS CAPTAIN KILLED
First Rank Captain Anton Kuprin, 44, was killed after the ship was hammered by Neptune missiles, according to Kyiv sources.
He “died during an explosion and fire on board the former flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation,” said Anton Gerashenko, advisor to the Kyiv interior ministry.
The official added: “We do not mourn.”
Other sources support the claim that Capt, Kuprin was killed.
There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow on Kuprin, but Russia has failed to announce many prominent military deaths in the 51-day war.
Russia has claimed that the crew was evacuated but there are increasing fears for lost lives on the battleship.
It has been alleged that only around 50 of the crew are accounted for – having been picked up by a Turkish vessel.
While another 14 were reportedly flown to the port of Sevastopol, leaving around 450 whose fates remain a mystery.
Video from within in Sevastopol overnight shows dozens of cars purportedly belonging to the sailors still parked in the port – suggesting their owners haven't come to collect them.
A “farewell ceremony” to the Moskva is due to be held in Sevastopol today at a monument in honour of the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet .
The attack left Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin craving bloody revenge and he immediately retaliated with a brutal new bombing campaign.
And he promised more strikes against the Ukrainian capital as they seek furious revenge for the loss of the 12,490-tonne monster vessel.
In a statement, Russia defence ministry said: "The number and scale of missile strikes on targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage on Russian territory committed by the Kyiv nationalist regime."
Strikes later rocked the capital Kyiv on Thursday night, according to Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko.
In a tweet late on Thursday, she said: "3 explosions in #Kyiv right now. One after the other.
"The air raid warning has been on for an hour. Most likely #putin gone livid because of the #Moskva sinking.
"Oh well, we’ll just keep standing to #Russia’s annoyance."
Social media videos have shown the sky above Kyiv lit up by countless explosions – they appear to be the most serious attacks since Russia retreated from the capital earlier this month.
While blasts were also heard in the southern city of Kherson, the eastern city of Kharkiv and in Ukraine's western city of Ivano-Frankivsk.
As well as being the biggest loss since the Belgrano, the Moskva is the largest naval asset to be sunk since World War 2.
But in a chilling revelation, sources say there is now real concern that there are several nuclear missiles on the vessel.
BlackSeaNews editor-in-chief Andriy Klymenko called for an urgent international probe into whether the Moskva was carrying nuclear weapons.
"Friends and experts say that there are two nuclear warheads for cruise missiles on board the Moskva,” he said.
“Perhaps for many this is new information, but it is true” – the warship is “a carrier of nuclear weapons”.
He asked: “Where are these warheads? Where were they when the ammunition exploded? Where is the point on the map, the coordinates?"
Ukrainian online newspaper Defence Express also warned of the nuclear warhead threat from the sunken Moskva.
They said: “There is a real possibility that the affected flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet could have had nuclear munitions on board.
“In addition to the P-1000 "Vulkan" missiles, the nuclear missile cruiser Moskva could contain other nuclear weapons."
Amid the harrowing reports of possible nukes in the Black Sea, a village in Russia's border region with Belarus, which houses a military base, was struck Thursday.
The attack followed explosions at an ammo dump and oil facility in Belgorod, and along a nearby train line.
Images from Belgorod in the early hours of Friday showed anti-aircraft missiles in the sky, suggesting fresh strikes were underway.
It comes as the ministry said its forces had also completely taken control of the Ilyich Steel Plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Russia said on Wednesday that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine's 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered near the steel plant.
Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian troops for weeks, has seen the fiercest fighting and the most comprehensive destruction since Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
On Thursday night Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised his people for withstanding a merciless 50-days of Russian onslaught.
He branded the resistance "an achievement of millions of Ukrainians".
The defiant leader also praised "everyone who on February 24 made the most important decision of their life – to fight".
Read More on The Sun
Downcast Gogglebox star Ellie seen for first time since boyfriend’s car crash
Burnley SACK Dyche in huge shock as they bid to avoid the drop with 8 games left
He went on to taunt Russia, saying: "They didn't know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want."
His comments came amid a chorus of world leaders pleading with Zelensky to leave the country.
Source: Read Full Article