Russia says Moscow crashes after Ukrainian missile strike

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Russia had initially denied reports that the warship had sunk, but later said it had fallen into stormy seas while towing to a port after a fire.

The Russian “Moscow” missile ship sank in the “stormy seas” while towing to the Black Sea port after the explosion, the Russian Defense Ministry announced.

Ukraine’s southern military command announced late Wednesday that it had struck Moscow with anti-ship cruise missiles Neptune, while diverting the crew from the drone, causing it to sink and force the crew to leave the ship.

The Russian Defense Ministry initially denied reports that it had sunk, claiming that the fires had been extinguished. The four Russian ships that came to the aid of Moscow were preventing the explosion of ammunition on the ship in stormy weather.

However, late on Thursday evening, the ministry said in a statement: “The Moscow cruiser lost its stability when it was taken to port because of the damage it received to the hull of the ship from the explosion of ammunition during the fire. The ship sank in stormy sea conditions. “

Earlier, Russia said the crew of more than 500 crew members had been evacuated from a Soviet-era missile ship to other ships.

The apparent naval attack 50 sinking – 50 days after Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine – is a symbolic blow to the Kremlin. “Moscow” was the pride of the Russian Navy, the most prestigious ship involved in the war against Ukraine.

“The sinking of the flagship of Moscow’s navy is not only a significant loss, but also a symbol of the Russian military campaign,” said Michael Koffman, a research fellow at the Russian Center for Naval Analysis.

Launched in 1983, the ship was armed with 16 anti-ship Vulkan cruise missiles with a range of at least 440 miles (700 km). It was reportedly carrying S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which are crucial to Russia’s air superiority over Crimea and the Ukrainian province of Kherson, which are now occupied by Russian troops.

This is the most significant naval ship that sank after the Argentine General Belgrano was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Conqueror in 1982. This is the first time that Moscow has lost a cruise ship after German planes crashed in the port of Chervona Ukraina (Red Ukraine). 1941 In Sastopol, the same Crimean naval base where Moscow was to be towed when it sank.

The governor of the Odessa region of Ukraine Maxim Marchenko said that Moscow was hit by two cruise missiles. “The Neptune missiles protecting the North Sea have caused very serious damage,” he said.

Former Secretary of the National Security և Defense Council Alexander Turchinov said that two weeks ago Ukraine shot down another Russian ship with a Neptune cruise missile. He said that the missile “caused significant damage” to Admiral Essen, “removing it from the combat operation.”

Western officials have called Ukraine’s allegations that Moscow fired anti-ship missiles “credible.” A senior US defense official said five other Russian ships that were as close to or closer to the Ukrainian coast than Moscow had moved at least 20 nautical miles offshore after the blast, presumably trying to get out of range of Ukrainian missiles. .

“As a result of the damage done to Moscow, all the ships in the North Sea have now left the northern regions where they were operating,” he said. “At the moment we are keeping them no closer than 80 nautical miles from the shore.

Related: Ukraine gave a commemorative medal to the soldier who told the Russian officer to “go and strangle you.”

Moscow became famous at the beginning of the war, when the crew demanded the surrender of Ukrainian forces on Snake Island, after which one of the island’s border guards responded.

The phrase immediately became a symbol of national disobedience and is now a universal meme. A day before the sinking of Moscow, President Vladimir Zelensky unveiled a new postage stamp depicting a Ukrainian border guard with his middle finger raised.

“Moscow” led the significant presence of Russian naval forces in the North Sea, threatening its southern ports and key ports. This has been one of the main points of the Kremlin’s military efforts – to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea, to build a land bridge from the Crimean peninsula to the Russian border.

The Neptune missile, which is said to have drilled a hole in the Moscow corps, was developed by Ukraine from an old Soviet missile. It is launched from a mobile station at a distance of 100 km, which allows firing from some distance on land.

The Western official said that “there is a huge determination, ingenuity of the Ukrainian forces – an initiative to be able to strike at Russian forces, where they probably previously thought they were invulnerable, have a significant influence on Russian naval operations.”

Ukraine reportedly has a limited supply of Neptune missiles and has applied for anti-ship weapons from the west. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised during a recent visit to China that the British missiles would be available, but they have not yet arrived.

A senior defense official in Washington has said that Ukrainian troops have been trained in the United States to use not only Switchblade drones that have now been sent to Ukraine, but also surface-to-air drones (USVs).

On Wednesday, Joe Biden pledged $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine, bringing the total to $ 2.6 billion since the start of the war. The new tranche will include longer-range air defense systems than previously supplied to Ukraine.

“We are working as hard as we can to meet that burden,” he said. “We have no illusions about the scale of this, but we are aware of the clock. We know that time is not our friend, we will do our best to move those goods as soon as possible, we are going to load them in advance with the opportunities that we know the Ukrainians need. majority.”

Equipment supplied or promised by the United States to date includes 16 Mi-17 helicopters, more than 700 Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicles, more than 1,400 anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, 5,500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, and 15 15-caliber և 40,000-mm missiles.

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