Russia’s Black Sea flagship missile cruiser, the Moskva, sank while being towed to port after an explosion caused by an unexplained fire, the Russian defence ministry has said, after Ukraine said it had hit the ship with a missile or missiles.
Although Russia did not confirm that Ukrainian missiles had hit the ship, early on Friday it struck what it described as a factory in Kyiv that made and repaired anti-ship missiles, in apparent retaliation.
The apparent attack on and sinking of the Black Sea fleet’s flagship – 50 days after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine – represents a symbolic blow to the Kremlin. The Moskva was the pride of its fleet and the most prestigious vessel involved in the war against Ukraine.
“The sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, is not just a significant loss, it is emblematic of the shambolic Russian military campaign,” said Michael Kofman, research programme director and Russia expert at the US government-funded Center for Naval Analyses.
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