Russian flagship Moskva was shot down by Ukrainian Army with Neptune missile
▪️ Bayraktar TB-2s were used to distract the target ship
Moskva was the largest warship in Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the vessel with missiles, while Russia acknowledged a fire aboard the Moskva but no attack. U.S. and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.
The loss of the warship named for the Russian capital is a devastating symbolic defeat for Moscow as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after retreating from much of the north, including the capital.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the ship sank in a storm while being towed to a port.
Russia earlier said the flames on the ship, which would typically have 500 sailors on board, forced the entire crew to evacuate.
It later said the blaze had been contained and that the ship would be towed to port with its missile launchers intact.
The ship had the capacity to carry 16 long-range cruise missiles, and its removal reduces Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea.
It’s also a blow to Russian prestige in a war already widely seen as a historic blunder.
Now entering its eighth week, Russia’s invasion has stalled because of resistance from Ukrainian fighters bolstered by weapons and other aid sent by Western nations.
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Russia’s flagship missile cruiser Moskva has sunk in “stormy seas” while being towed to a port in the Black Sea following an explosion, the Russian defence ministry has announced.
The Ukrainian southern military command claimed late on Wednesday to have struck the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles, while distracting its crew with an aerial drone, causing it to start sinking and forcing the crew to abandon ship.
Russia’s defence ministry initially denied reports that it had sunk and claimed the fires had been extinguished.
Four Russian ships that had gone to the Moskva’s rescue were being hampered by stormy weather and by ammunition blowing up onboard, it said.
But late on Thursday, the ministry said in a statement: “The cruiser ship Moskva lost its stability when it was towed to the port because of the damage to the ship’s hull that it received during the fire from the detonation of ammunition. In stormy sea conditions, the ship sank.”
Russia had said earlier that the crew of more than 500 crew were evacuated from the Soviet-era missile cruiser to other ships.
The apparent attack and sinking of the Black Sea fleet’s flagship – 50 days after Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine – represents a symbolic blow to the Kremlin.
The Moskva was the pride of Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet and the most prestigious vessel involved in the war against Ukraine.
“The sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, is not just a significant loss, it is emblematic of the shambolic Russian military campaign,” said Michael Kofman, research programme director and Russia expert at the Center for Naval Analyses.