Thursday, October 6, 2022

Ukraine war: Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva allegedly attacked by Ukrainians has sunk – defense ministry | World News

A Russian warship that was allegedly attacked by Ukraine has sunk, Moscow’s defense ministry has said.

The Moskva, a missile cruiser, is the flagship of the Kremlin’s Black Sea fleet and is understood to have sunk as it was towed back to port during bad weather after an explosion and fire.

Earlier, Russia’s defense ministry said the Soviet-era vessel had been badly damaged by a firewhich Ukraine was said a result of its missile strike.

The Moskva’s crew was evacuated on to other ships in the area, according to the Russian defense ministry, which admitted earlier that it was badly damaged.

“During the towing of the cruiser Moskva to the port of destination, the ship lost stability due to the damage to the hull received during the fire from the detonation of ammunition,” the ministry was cited as saying.

“In the stormy sea conditions, the ship has sunk.”

In other developments:

• Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ukrainians in his nightly address for surviving 50 days under attack
• Powerful explosions were heard overnight in Kyiv in the biggest blasts since Russian troops pulled back
• Karim Khan, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, described Ukraine as a “crime scene”
• Vladimir Putin warned of “further consequences” for Western nations if Russian oil is replaced
• Russia claimed Ukrainian helicopters hit residential buildings and injured seven people in Bryansk
• The UK sanctioned two oligarchs who are close friends with Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich

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The Moskva in Sevastopol, in occupied Crimea, on 7 April. Pic: Maxar Technologies via AP

Ukraine claims responsibility for damaging warship

Two Neptune missiles, which are anti-ship missiles, were used in the attack, Ukrainian media said earlier, but these claims have not been independently verified.

A Ukrainian source told Sky News earlier: “She is on fire. The level of damage is being clarified… She is about 25 nautical miles from Snake Island.”

Maksim Marchenko, the governor of Odesa, said on Telegram: “It has been confirmed that the missile cruiser Moskva today went exactly where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!

“Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship.

“Glory to Ukraine!”

Read more: Why is Russia focusing on east Ukraine?

Ukraine’s claims were not confirmed by Russia and have not been verified by Western officials.

In comments reported by Tass news agency, Moscow’s defense ministry said ammunition detonated on board “as a result of a fire”, the cause of which is being investigated.

The Pentagon earlier said the cruiser missile ship, one of three Russia has in this class, was roughly 600ft long and could hold almost 500 sailors on board.

The ship was designed for air defence, the spokesperson added.

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While the Mayor of Mariupol remains defiant, Russia releases footage of allegedly surrendering Ukrainian troops.

A ‘symbolic’ event on ‘both sides’

The Ukrainian version of events – that the fire was caused by a missile strike – was “more likely” to be correct, air marshal Phil Osborn, former chief of UK defense intelligence, told Sky News before the ship sank.

The development is “quite symbolic on both sides”, he said, adding that the Moskva is “quite a significant vessel as far as Russia is concerned”.

Presuming the cruiser was indeed hit by a Ukrainian missile, the impact is “less the loss of the ship and more a demonstration of Ukrainian capability”, he added.

The Moskva, which dates from the Soviet era, was commissioned 40 years ago but has been refitted, he said.

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Mr Marchenko’s comments about the ship sinking refer to an incident the day after Russia’s invasion began, when the Moskva was one of two Russian vessels approaching Snake Island in the Black Sea.

The Russians ordered 13 Ukrainian soldiers defending the island to surrender, prompting one to tell the Moskva and its crew to “go f*** yourself” over radio.

At first, it was thought the Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, but the country’s navy later said they had been captured alive by Russia.

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