Russia’s defense ministry said that one of the Russian Navy’s most important warships, Moskva sunk in the Black Sea on Wednesday. According to a ministry message, the warship was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and at the time of the accident, it was being towed to port when stormy seas caused it to sink. Furthermore, the 510-crew missile cruiser led its naval assault on Ukraine and symbolized Russian military power.
The Russian defense ministry said that its warship Moskva sunk in the Black Sea as it was being towed to its port when stormy seas caused it to sink. Instead, Ukrainian Operational Command South claimed that the Moskva started to sink Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles hit it. pic.twitter.com/RdNZtSElob
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On the other hand, Ukraine says its missiles hit the Russian warship Moskva, but Russia didn’t report any attack. Instead, the Russian version says that the warship sank after a fire. According to the statement, the blaze caused the explosion of the ammunition. However, it provided no additional details. According to TASS, the statement said that during the towing of the vessel at the port, the Moskva lost its stability due to exterior damage received during a fire from the explosion of ammunition.
Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian Operational Command South claimed that the ship started to sink after Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles hit it. Additionally, the statement said that the Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles hit the warship in the operational zone of the Black Sea. As a result, a fire broke out as the cruiser Moskva received significant damage. Moscow said a fire broke out on the cruiser, instigating ammunitions aboard to explode, imposing severe damage to the warship; luckily, the ship crew evacuated safely.
Sunken Russian Warship Moskva
Russian flagship Black Sea missile cruiser was initially built in Ukraine in the Soviet era, and the warship entered Navy service in the early 1980s. Previously, Moscow deployed the missile cruiser in the Syria conflict, where it supplied the Russian military in the country with naval protection. It has the ability to carry more than a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles, mine-torpedo weapons, and an array of anti-submarine.
Naval expert Jonathan Bentham from the International Institute for Strategic Studies told BBC News that the Slava-class cruiser was the third largest vessel and is one of its most heavily defended assets in the active Russian fleet. The warship is equipped with a triple-tiered air defense system that, if operating appropriately, should give it three opportunities to protect itself from any Neptune missile attack.
The cruiser could engage six short-range close-in weapon systems as a last resort and medium and short-range defenses. Additionally, Bentham said that Moskva had the ability of 360-degree anti-air defense coverage. Finally, he noted that a close-in weapon system could fire five thousand rounds in one minute, explicitly establishing a wall of flak across the vessel, its last line of defense.
Ukrainian military officials say that they hit the Moskva vessel with a Kyiv-made Neptune missile. Moreover, the Ukrainian army engineers designed the cruise missile system in response to the rising naval threat from the Russian forces in the Black Sea following its seizure of Crimea in 2014. Since the invasion started, Ukraine received a flood of military assistance from Western allies, including the aid of £100 million worth of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles that the United Kingdom announced it would be sending last week.