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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

In Sevastopol, Russia Secretly Honors The Black Sea Crew It Won't Admit It Lost

In the secrecy that often surrounds wars, and in the realm of information warfare, losses are often deliberately underreported or completely omitted. But this case in Crimean port city of Sevastopol is pure paradox.

Image of two boats, one rescuing the other.

Before its sinking, Russian rescue tugboat Vasily Bekh.

Район Кривого Рога/Facebook

SEVASTOPOL — A year after its sinking near Snake Island, a monument to the crew of the sunken rescue tug Vasily Bekh was unveiled at the Russian Navy's Black Sea base of Sevastopol, according to independent Russian news sites agents.media (Agenstvo). For the past year, the Russian Ministry of Defense has never publicly reported the ship’s loss.

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On June 17, 2022, the Ukrainian navy announced that they had struck the tugboat while it was carrying military equipment, personnel and ammunition to resupply Snake Island, which Russian forces occupied at the time.

The photos of the monument were taken by Dmitry Shkrebets, father a sailor killed on another sunken vessel, the Russian Moskva cruiser, which Ukrainian forces sank on April 14, 2022.

He said that only the Navy's press service was allowed to take photos of the monument, and all guests had their phones confiscated. Military police allegedly ensured that no one took any pictures.

Despite this, Shkrebets claimed that he was provided with a photo of the monument before the unveiling. In the picture, the names on the plaque are covered.

Image of a monument to the deceased crew of the rescue tug SB-739 "Rescuer Vasily Bekh."

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, exactly one year after the disappearance of the rescue tug SB-739 "Spasatel Vasily Bekh", a monument to the deceased crew was unveiled on the territory of the military unit.

Vlad Artisov/Facebook

Not eligible for compensation

According to Shkrebets, it took the surviving members of the tugboat’s crew and the relatives of the deceased crew members nine months of "bureaucratic struggle" to get the authorities to acknowledge that the vessel participated in what Russia calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Seven civilians and four military personnel were killed.

The command of the Russian Black Sea Fleet claimed that the tugboat's crew voluntarily entered the "special operation" zone without orders from the leadership of the Black Sea Fleet, according to Shkrebets, referring to the documents he saw.

Shkrebets claims that there were 19 civilian crew members and 14 military personnel on the tugboat. As a result of the Ukrainian strike, seven civilians and four military personnel were killed.

One of the surviving crew members informed Agenstvo that they are not eligible to receive compensation because Russian President Vladimir Putin has not issued a decree concerning social guarantees for civilian personnel of the Ministry of Defense.

Nevertheless, he noted, many ships manned by civilian crews from the emergency rescue unit and the support fleet of the Black Sea Fleet are participating in the “special military operation."

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How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

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