Russia calls up missing cook who was onboard warship sunk in April

Parents get draft letter for lost son in error blamed on bureaucracy

Russia-Ukraine war – latest news updates

A recruitment office in St Petersburg has issued a draft notice to a missing Russian sailor who was onboard the flagship Moskva missile cruiser, which sank in the Black Sea in April.

According to a report by the local news website Fontanka, the parents of the sailor, named Mikhail, who was a cook on the Moskva cruiser, received his call-up notice last month. The papers ordered their son to report to the drafting station or face possible prosecution.

“You may be prosecuted if you do not appear at the indicated time and place without a legitimate reason,” the draft paper read.

Russia’s first draft since the second world war, announced by Vladimir Putin, caused chaos and anger across the country, as news emerged that local authorities were sending draft papers to Russians who had died or who had severe health conditions.

There have been reports of at least two blind men in Russia called up to fight in Ukraine, as well as a report about a 63-year-old with diabetes and severe brain injury.

Fontanka said that Mikhail’s family has been searching for him since the evening of 13 April, the day when Ukraine fired two Neptune cruise missiles at the flagship cruiser, which had a crew of about 500, causing the ship to sink after a fire.

Local authorities in St Petersburg said that the draft papers for Mikhail were probably a “mistake” caused by the large number of draft notices sent since the start of the mobilisation in September. “If the fact of the mistake is confirmed, we will do our best to make amends to our relatives,” said Mikhail Kalinin, spokesperson for the regional administration.

The exact number of sailors who died in the sinking of Moskva is still not known. The Russian defence ministry in April said that one service personnel died and another 27 crew members were missing after what Moscow said was an ammunition blast triggered by a fire on the ship. Russian independent media have reported that the number of missing soldiers was probably higher.

Last month a court in Russia-annexed Crimea acknowledged the death of 17 more missing sailors, mostly young conscripts, after their families went to court demanding answers.


Pjotr Sauer

The GuardianTramp

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