As the war intensifies in Ukraine’s eastern region, there are reports coming that Russia has suffered a massive setback in the Black Sea. Russia’s flagship of the Black Sea fleet, the missile cruiser ‘Moskva’ was reportedly hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles and has suffered heavy damage.
Russian Ministry of Defence has stated that there was a fire onboard the Moskva, causing the ammunition to blow up, causing damage to the ship.
However, Ukrainian officials have stated that they have hit the Moskva with 2 anti-ship Neptune cruise missiles from the coastline between Odessa and Nikolayev and the Moskva is now sinking.
Russian cruiser Moskva, the 12,000 ton flagship of the Black Sea fleet, has exploded.— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) April 14, 2022
Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the guided missile cruiser suffered “significant damage” after “a fire broke out” and set off its ammunition.https://t.co/Iqpd5i5GsZ pic.twitter.com/pSZV0gWST3
As per a Reuters report, Maksym Marchenko, the Ukrainian governor of the Black Sea port of Odesa, said the Moskva had been hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.
If the claims are true, the loss of the Moskva will be the biggest blow to Russia in the ongoing war, because the Black Sea fleet is crucial in providing support to Russia’s land-based operations in coastal Ukraine. So far, Russia had maintained dominance in the Black Sea and is fighting for the control of the port city of Mariupol.
The Moskva is a famous Russian warship, commissioned in 1983 and carries 16 anti-ship Vulkan cruise missiles. It also carries vertical tubes for 64 S-300 air defense missiles and rail launchers for 40 Osa missiles, as per a Forbes report. It is one of Russia’s 3 Slava class cruisers and is heavily armed, so an ‘ammunition explosion’, as Russia said happened, can severely damage the ship.
Several media channels are reporting that Moskva suffered heavy damages and the crew of about 500 was told to abandon the ship, indicating a strong possibility that the ship is sinking, and is now beyond rescue.
Earlier on March 24, the Russian landing ship Saratov was blown up on the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, possibly hit by a Ukrainian missile.