Sinking of flagship Moskva is a serious blow to Russian war machine and national pride

15 April, 01:44 PM
Cruiser Moscow in Naples, Italy, in 2005 (Photo:Alan Burns-NATO/Handout via REUTERS)

Cruiser Moscow in Naples, Italy, in 2005 (Photo:Alan Burns-NATO/Handout via REUTERS)

The flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – guided missile cruiser Moskva – has sunk in the Black Sea, following on-board ammo detonation, Russia’s Defense Ministry admitted late on April 14.

According to earlier reports from sources close to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship missiles, fired from a coastal battery, on April 13.

The Russian statement suggested that the cruiser sank during a storm while being towed to a port for repairs. At the time of the message, however, the Black Sea was relatively calm, according to naval weather monitoring websites.

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There had been stormy conditions the previous day – the day that Ukraine said it had launched its missile attack on the Moskva.

The United States could not confirm what exactly led to the flagship sinking, U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby told CNN.

“But we also cannot refute the Ukrainian version of events; it’s both credible and possible that the (AFU) hit the ship with Neptune (missiles) or something else,” said Kirby.

He added that, whatever the causes might be, losing the Moskva “deals a serious blow to the heart of Russian navy and national pride.”

The AFU said that Neptune missiles managed to penetrated Moskva’s vaunted “triple-layered” AA defenses because the ship and its crew were focused on taking down a TB-2 Bayraktar UAV at the time of the attack.

According to the editor-in-chief of BlackSeaNews, Andriy Klimenko, the cruiser had 16 cruise missiles on board when it sank.

Forbes Ukraine estimates the value of the Moskva to be around $750 million, making it Russia’s most expensive single loss of equipment in the war by a large margin.

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