Black Sea (Times Of Ocean)- The Russian warship Moskva, which was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday, has sunk, Russia’s defense ministry announced.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship, Moskva, was being towed to port when “stormy seas” caused it to sink, according to a ministry message.
As a symbol of Russia’s military power, the 510-crew missile cruiser led its battle against Ukraine in the Mediterranean.
Kyiv claims its missiles hit the warship. Moscow has not confirmed any attacks. It says the ship sank after a fire.
As a result of the blaze, the warship’s ammunition exploded, Russia says, adding that the entire crew was rescued by nearby vessels in the Black Sea. No further information was provided.
Initially claiming that the warship was afloat, Russian state media reported late on Thursday that the Moskva was lost.
“While being towed… towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” state news agency Tass quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.
In a statement, Ukrainian military officials revealed they attacked the Moskva with Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles – a weapon designed in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the increasing threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea.
According to Ukrainian officials, there could have been as many as 510 crew members on board the Moskva.
In the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on 24 February, the Moskva was remembered for radioing an expletive-laden rejection message to a small garrison of Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea.
Moskva was originally built in the Soviet Union and entered service in the early 1980s. In fact, the vessel was laid down in the city of Mykolaiv, which has been heavily bombed by Russia in recent days.
During the Syria conflict, the guided missile cruiser provided protection to Russian forces in Syria.
There were 16 Vulkan missiles on board, as well as an array of mine-torpedo and anti-submarine weapons.
Upon confirmation of the Ukrainian attack, the 12,490-tonne Moskva would be the largest warship to be sunk by enemy action since World War Two.
This is the second major vessel lost by Russia since its invasion began. The Saratov landing ship also was destroyed by a Ukrainian attack in the Berdyansk harbor, a Sea of Azov Ukrainian port that was seized by Russia.