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“A symbol of Russian naval power”: what is known about the Moskva, the Russian ship seriously damaged after an explosion

Russia’s flagship missile cruiser in the Black Sea was ‘seriously damaged’ and its crew was forced to evacuate, Russian state media reported.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the ammunition that the Moscow carried on board exploded after a fire, the original cause of which is unknown.

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Ukraine maintains that his forces launched two missiles Neptune that impacted the ship.

The 510-man warship has led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine, making it an important symbolic as well as military objective.

Earlier in the conflict, the Moscow It gained notoriety after its crew ordered the Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender.

The guards refused, radioing a memorable rejection message that loosely translates to “go to hell.”

What are both sides saying?

In the evening, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that “the ship is badly damaged. The entire crew has been evacuated.”

The satellite image shows the Moskva in the port of Crimea on April 7, 2022. (MAXAR)

But Moscow attributed the explosion to a fire and said it was investigating the cause, without making any mention of an attack.

Ukraine, by contrast, claimed responsibility for the attack on the 186-meter-long (610-foot) ship, against which it claims to have launched two Neptune missiles.

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“It has been confirmed that the Moskva missile cruiser left today exactly to the place where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!” Odessa regional governor Maksym Marchenko said.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said something “surprising” had happened with the flagship.

“It burns intensely. Right now. And with this stormy sea, it is not known if they will be able to receive help,” said Arestovych.

In a subsequent tweet, the presidential adviser claimed Ukraine had sunk the ship, but provided no evidence. The BBC has not been able to verify this claim.


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This is a significant setback for Russia’s war effort, both for military and moral reasons.

The Moskva is a former Soviet-era missile cruiser, but has been the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet since 2000.

The 12,500-ton warship was part of a Russian fleet marauding the high seas and threatening the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

The Moskva in December 2015, patrolling the coast of Syria, in the Mediterranean Sea.  (AFP).

The Moskva in December 2015, patrolling the coast of Syria, in the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP).

Whatever the cause of the great fire on board, the disappearance of the once mighty Moskva will be seen as poetic justice in Ukraine.

In more practical terms, this incident is likely to result in Russian warships having to move further from the coast for your own safety.


Black Sea Domain

The warship is a “symbol of Russian naval power in the Black Sea,” Michael Petersen of the Russian Institute for Maritime Studies explained to the BBC.

“The Moskva has been a thorn in the side of the Ukrainians since the beginning of this conflict. Seeing him so damaged… I think he’ll be a real morale boost for the Ukrainians.



The Russian military has been dominant in the Black Sea since annexing Crimea in 2014, using its presence there to launch and supply the invasion.

Its Black Sea fleet has supported the war with the ability to launch missiles cruise anywhere in Ukraine and has been important in supporting Russian attempts to seize Mariupol.

How important is Moskva?

Originally built in Ukraine in the Soviet era, the ship entered service in the early 1990s. 1980according to Russian media.



The missile cruiser was previously deployed by Moscow in the conflict of Syria, where it provided naval protection for Russian forces in the country.

It carries more than a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles and a number of anti-submarine weapons and anti-mine torpedoes, according to reports.

“Being able to attack Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea so firmly is a huge boost because it also reduces Russia’s future capabilities to conduct offensive naval operations, quite seriously,” said Samir Puri of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Moskva is the second large Russian ship known to have been seriously damaged since the invasion began.

Neptune missiles

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has not yet offered its version of events, but the Odessa regional governor claims that the attack was carried out by two Neptune missiles.

The impact suffered by the ship, regardless of its cause, represents both a military and moral achievement for the Ukrainians.  (Russian Defense Ministry).

The impact suffered by the ship, regardless of its cause, represents both a military and moral achievement for the Ukrainians. (Russian Defense Ministry).

The Neptune cruise missile system was designed by kyiv military engineers in response to the growing naval threat posed by Russia in the Black Sea, following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

According to the Kyiv Post (a Ukrainian newspaper in English), the Ukrainian navy only received its first delivery of 300 km range missiles in March last year.

Since the invasion began, Ukraine has received an influx of military aid from its Western allies, including $130 million worth of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, which Britain announced it would send last week.

snake island

In the early days of the Russian invasion, Moskva made world news after he ordered a group of Ukrainian soldiers at a Black Sea outpost to surrender.

When the troops refused, with a defiant radio message, it was initially believed that the border troops had been attacked and killed, but had actually been taken captive.

The soldiers were later released as part of a prisoner swap with Russia in late March and the Ukrainian military honored their commander with a medal.

Source: Elcomercio

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