Father of Missing Moskva Sailor Says 'My Country Has Betrayed Me'

A Russian man whose quest to find out what happened to the sunken Black Sea fleet flagship his son was aboard, has accused his country of betraying him.

Dmitry Shkrebets, 43, has led a campaign to find out the circumstances of the fate of the vessel and its crew on April 13. His son, Yegor Shkrebets, 20, was a cook and a conscript on guided-missile cruiser Moskva when it was reportedly struck.

Ukraine got a public relations coup after it said it hit the vessel with Neptune missiles, killing as many as 250 sailors. Russia denied that, saying the vessel sank after a fire on board detonated ammunition.

But in the absence of any official confirmation about the crew, Shkrebets says questions remain unanswered. In April, he said the Russian Navy told him his son was not dead but rather included among the "missing."

Shkrebets has made a number of emotional posts on his VKontakte social media page lamenting what he says is a cover up by the Russian authorities.

One on Sunday said: "My son was supposed to come home now, and we don't even have a body. My country betrayed me, that's all I want to tell you."

He also vowed to "write the truth about the cruiser" and said in another post that he had been the target of the Russian authorities. Shkrebets had previously said that agents from an unidentified security agency had questioned him about alleged bomb threats and that his laptop had been seized.

"You are afraid of me because there is no truth behind you. And I'm not afraid of death, I'm waiting for it!!!" he wrote.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

An unverified screenshot of another post he purportedly wrote, but which is no longer available, as also widely shared on social media. In it, which Shkrebets appeared to suggest he was so disillusioned that he was going to join Ukrainian forces.

The message said there was "no more strength for this lie" and "I supported a war that never should have started."

"There is only one right choice," it said. "I will no longer stay in Russia" and that he had left for a third country from where he will enter Ukraine to join the Freedom of Russia legion, which consists of defectors of the Russian Armed Force members. "They are already waiting for me. Finally, everything has fallen into place."

Last month, Shkrebets told Current Time TV, the Russian-language network led by Radio Free Europe, that he would continue his quest for the truth—despite his belief authorities will try to plant information to charge him with reporting false information about an act of terrorism.

"Whether I succeed in getting those responsible held accountable...you understand, that I can only speak and write, the levers of power are in the hands of others," he told the outlet.

Moskva
This 2008 shows the Moskva, missile cruiser flagship of Russian Black Sea Fleet, entering Sevastopol bay. The vessel sank after what Ukrainian forces said had been a missile strike. Dmitry Shkrebets, whose son was on board is looking for answers about the vessel crew's fate. Getty Images