Vladimir Putin just suffered a national embarrassment after admitting that the Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship Moskva is now at the bottom of the ocean.
Russia initially said there was a fire on board that caused an ammunition explosion.
However, Ukraine said they hit it with two missiles.
The warship was reportedly destroyed when its own onboard ammunition detonated, causing a huge explosion.
Today, Russia is saying they were trying to tug their flagship into port when it sunk in heavy seas.
Moskva will be the biggest warship lost since WW2.
At 12,490 tons, with a crew of over 500, she’s bigger than Argentina’s General Belgrano, which was sunk by the Royal Navy in 1982 during the Falkland War.
The Moskva was reportedly struck by Ukrainian-designed Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.
These only entered active service in 2019.
Shashank Joshi, Defense Editor at the Economist reported:
“Western official on the Moskva incident: ‘I can’t definitively tell you exactly what has happened. But I am not aware previously of a fire on board a capital warship, which would lead to the ammunition magazine exploding. The claim by Ukrainian forces is credible.’
“I asked what Moskva had been doing.
“Western official: ‘One of its key roles was to provide the command and control function across those vessels operating in the Black Sea… They ought to have sufficient capability to continue to provide air defence [to] their maritime forces.’
“Western official: ‘the Ukrainians are claiming 19,700 Russian dead.’
“Our estimate would be somewhat lower than that.
“But our estimates are that they’ve received incredible numbers of a Russian soldiers killed.
“Western official: ‘What we are seeing is really the piecemeal commitment of the Russian forces which are being reallocated from the other strategic axes of advance.’
“Some forces ‘have been redeployed which are already being prepared and fed into the fight in the Donbas.'”
The Moskva has officially sunk. The Defense Ministry says it happened while trying to tow it back to harbor “due to damage suffered by the hull during a storm.” https://t.co/MFHzOCMH8c
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) April 14, 2022
Breaking: Russia’s defense ministry says the Moskva cruiser, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, sank while being towed in a storm due to damage incurred in a fire.
Ukraine claimed yesterday that it struck the vessel with anti-ship missiles. https://t.co/8vyDNcDLxN
— Zach Basu (@zacharybasu) April 14, 2022
A senior U.S. defense official said earlier Thursday that the Moskva had experienced “significant damage” and was heading east while continuing to battle a fire on the cruiser.
The official could not confirm the cause of the explosion.
It’s unknown if there were any casualties.
Russia’s defense ministry said it evacuated the ship’s approximately 500 crew members on Wednesday.