Russia said the crew of its Black Sea fleet flagship were evacuated on Thursday and measures were being taken to tow the ship back to port after an explosion of ammunition on board that Ukraine said was caused by a missile strike. Russia’s defence ministry said the fire on the Soviet-era missile cruiser Moskva had been contained, but left the ship badly damaged. It did not acknowledge the ship had been attacked and said the cause of the fire was under investigation.
Ukraine’s southern military command said that it hit the warship with a Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship missile and that it had started to sink.
Reuters was unable to verify either side’s statements.
The loss or disabling of the Moskva would be another blow for Russia – on the 50th day of its war in Ukraine – as it readies for a new assault in the eastern Donbas region that is likely to define the outcome of the conflict.
Russia’s navy has launched cruise missiles into Ukraine and its activities in the Black Sea…