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Russia says Moskva cruiser has sunk after reported Ukrainian missile strike | Russia


Russia’s flagship missile cruiser Moskva has sunk in “stormy seas” whereas being towed to a port within the Black Sea following an explosion, the Russian defence ministry has introduced.

The Ukrainian southern navy command claimed late on Wednesday to have struck the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles, whereas distracting its crew with an aerial drone, inflicting it to start out sinking and forcing the crew to desert ship.

Russia’s defence ministry initially denied studies that it had sunk and claimed the fires had been extinguished. Four Russian ships that had gone to the Moskva’s rescue had been being hampered by stormy climate and by ammunition blowing up onboard, it stated.

But late on Thursday, the ministry stated in an announcement: “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 stated earlier that the crew of greater than 500 crew had been evacuated from the Soviet-era missile cruiser to different ships.

The obvious assault 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 pleasure of Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet and essentially the most prestigious vessel concerned within the conflict in opposition to 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,” stated Michael Kofman, analysis programme director and Russia skilled on the Center for Naval Analyses.

Commissioned in 1983, the ship was armed with 16 anti-ship Vulkan cruise missiles with a variety of at the very least 440 miles (700km). According to studies, it was additionally carrying S-300 anti-air missiles, that are essential to Russia’s air superiority over Crimea and Ukraine’s Kherson province, now occupied by Russian troops.

It is essentially the most vital naval vessel to be sunk because the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano was torpedoed by a British submarine, HMS Conqueror in 1982. It is the primary time Moscow has misplaced a cruiser since German planes sunk the Chervona Ukraina (Red Ukraine) in 1941 at Sevastopol – the identical Crimean naval base the place the Moskva was being to towed in direction of when it sank.

Maksym Marchenko, the Ukrainian governor of the area round Odesa, stated the Moskva had been hit by two cruise missiles. “Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage,” he stated.

Oleksandr Turchynov, a former secretary of the nationwide safety and defence council, stated Ukraine had hit one other Russian ship two weeks in the past with a Neptune cruise missile. He stated the missile inflicted “significant damage” on the Admiral Essen, “removing it from combat operation”.

Western officers described the Ukrainian claims to have hit the Moskva with anti-ship missiles as “credible”. A senior US defence official famous that 5 different Russian vessels which had been as shut as or nearer to the Ukrainian coast than the Moskva had moved at the very least one other 20 nautical miles offshore after the explosion, suggesting an effort to get out of vary of Ukrainian missiles.

“In the wake of the damage that the Moskva experienced, all of the northern Black Sea ships have now moved out, away from that the northern areas they were operating in,” the defence official stated. “At this point, we hold them no closer than about 80 nautical miles from the coast.

The Moskva gained notoriety early in the war when the crew demanded the surrender of Ukrainian forces on Snake Island, prompting a riposte from one of the border guards on the island: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”

The phrase immediately turned a logo of nationwide defiance, and is now a common meme. The day earlier than the Moskva was sunk, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy unveiled a brand new postage stamp portraying the ship and the Ukrainian border guard together with his center finger raised.

The Moskva had been main a considerable Russian naval presence within the Black Sea, threatening Ukraine’s southern coast and its key ports. This has been one of many predominant focuses of the Kremlin’s navy efforts, and is aimed toward slicing off Ukraine’s entry to sea and making a land bridge from the Crimean peninsula to the Russian border.

The Neptune missile which is claimed to have punched a gap within the Moskva’s hull was developed by Ukraine from an outdated Soviet missile. It is fired from a cellular launcher with a variety of a 100km permitting it to be fired from far inland.

A western official stated there was “enormous determination, ingenuity and initiative of Ukrainian forces in order to be able to strike at Russian forces where perhaps they previously thought they were invulnerable, and a significant impact on Russian maritime operations”.

Ukraine is reported to have a restricted provide of Neptune missiles and has appealed for western provides of anti-ship weapons. The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, promised on a latest go to to Kyiv that British missiles can be made accessible, however they haven’t but arrived.

A senior defence official in Washington stated Ukrainian troopers had been skilled within the US to make use of not solely Switchblade aerial drones, which have now been despatched to Ukraine, however water-borne unmanned floor automobiles (USVs).

On Wednesday, Joe Biden accepted one other $800m in US navy help to Ukraine, make a complete of $2.6bn because the starting of the conflict. The new tranche will embody longer-range air defence techniques than had been beforehand provided to Ukraine.

“We are working as feverishly as we can to fill those shipments out,” the US defence official stated. “We’re under no illusion of the size and the scale of this thing but we also are mindful of the clock. We know time is not our friend, and we’re going to do the best we can to move these shipments as fast as we can and we’re going to front-load them with the kinds of capabilities that we know the Ukrainians need the most.”

The tools thus far delivered or pledged by the US consists of 16 Mi-17 helicopters, over 700 Switchblade armed drones, over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 5,500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 18 howitzers and 40,000 155mm artillery rounds.



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