Moskva: Russian Navy cruiser burns in Black Sea “after being hit by Ukrainian missiles”

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was “severely damaged” on Thursday after an explosion that Ukrainian officials said was caused by their missile launch.

Cruiser Moskva is a heavily modernized 12,000 ton Soviet era guided missile cruiser. Originally called “Glory”, it was first built in a shipyard in Nikolaev and commissioned in 1982.

The Russian Defense Ministry, according to state media, said ammunition exploded following a fire on the Moskva missile cruiser. The crew was evacuated while the causes of the fire are investigated, he added.

Although Russian officials did not name Ukraine, Odessa Governor Maksym Marchenko said the Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.

“Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea inflicted very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine,” Marchenko said on social media.

Russian news agencies said the ship was armed with 16 Vulkan anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of at least 700 km.

This is the same ship that was involved in a standoff on remote Snake Island at the start of the war.

On February 27, 13 border guards were defending the island of Zmiinyi (Serpent), a largely uninhabited but strategically important strip of land in the Black Sea, about 300 km west of Crimea, when the Russian ship approached.

As the Russian soldiers told the Ukrainian guards to lay down their weapons or be “bombarded”, two Ukrainian guards could be heard engaging in a brief exchange saying, “Should I tell them to fuck off ? – before responding with: “Russian warship, fuck you”.

With Thursday’s explosion, the Moskva is the second major ship known to have suffered severe damage since the start of the war, Reuters reported.

Last month, Ukraine said it had destroyed a landing support ship, the Orsk, on the Sea of ​​Azov.

Russia’s activities in the Black Sea are crucial to supporting ground operations in southern Ukraine, where it is fighting to take full control of the port of Mariupol.

In a video address Wednesday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Russian forces are intensifying their activities on the southern and eastern fronts, trying to avenge their defeats.

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