Ukraine reports firing rockets at the "Moskva". Because of the Turkish Bosphorus blockade, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is irreplaceable.
According to media reports from Russia, the Russian warship Moskva was severely damaged in an ammunition explosion. "As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated on the Moskva missile cruiser, the ship was severely damaged," the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the Russian news agencies Tass and Ria Novosti.
According to the ministry, the fire has been contained. The ammunition explosions have stopped, "the cruiser Moskva remains afloat," reports the Russian Defense Ministry. According to the ministry, the warship is now being towed back to port, and the crew has been accommodated on other ships. The 11,500 ton ship normally has a crew of around 500 people on board.
In addition, according to Russian information, the Moskva 's most important weapons were not damaged, and the ship is not in danger of sinking. The cause of the fire is now being investigated.
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Ukraine reports rocket fire
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said it hit the Russian warship with a Neptun missile. The cruiser was severely damaged, the military command for southern Ukraine announced on Facebook.
The fire on board the Moskva broke out after the hit and the ship began to sink. In addition, Russian rescue ships were hampered by ammunition exploding on board and bad weather.
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The Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych had previously declared the ship sunk. "Where is the Moskva ? It has sunk," he wrote on Twitter. So far, there is no evidence to support the claims of Russia and Ukraine. The Moskva was built in the Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv during Soviet times and, according to Russian media reports, went into operation in 1983. In 2008 it protected Russian landing troops in the war against Georgia, and according to the TASS agency in 2015 it was deployed in the eastern Mediterranean to protect the Russian Hmeimim air force base in Syria.
The warship is reportedly carrying 16 P-1000 Wulkan anti-ship missiles and a variety of other weapon systems, including anti-submarine weapons. According to a January report by Forbes magazine , the Moskva can defend itself against airstrikes, and Neptun missiles are the only weapon available to Ukraine that can threaten the ship.
"Moskva" had attacked Ukrainian island
The importance of the warship for the Russian fleet is therefore immense. In addition to the loss of image caused by the destruction of its flagship in the Black Sea, Russia cannot replace the Moskva either: Turkey denies Russian military ships passage through the Bosphorus, and the Russian Navy does not have any other ships with similar characteristics in the Black Sea.
This makes the remaining Russian ships in the region more vulnerable. According to a statement by the Ukrainian military, the conditions for a possible landing of Russian troops on the Black Sea coast are now "unfavorable". However, the danger of rocket attacks remains.
At the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Moskva attacked the Ukrainian Snake Island near the Romanian border and called on the soldiers stationed there to surrender - without success. 19 Ukrainian marines were taken prisoner by the Russians in the attack. According to the Ukrainian parliament, they were released at the end of March as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia.
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