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The flagship of Russia’s naval fleet in the Black Sea was severely damaged from a fire on board the ship Wednesday, which comes just hours after Ukraine claimed that they hit the ship with missiles.
Russia claimed that ammunition on the ship exploded during a fire while Ukraine claimed that it had hit the ship with two shore-based anti-ship missiles.
“The 12,500 tonne ship has a crew of around 500,” Reuters reported. “Russian news agencies said the Moskva was armed with 16 anti-ship ‘Vulkan’ cruise missiles, which have a range of at least 700 km (440 miles).”
“As the result of a fire on the Moskva missile cruiser, ammunition detonated. The ship was seriously damaged,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The crew was completely evacuated.”
Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said in a Telegram message on Tuesday that the ship was hit by Ukrainian missiles.
“It has been confirmed that the missile cruiser Moskva today went exactly where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!” Marchenko said. “Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship.”
USNI News added:
[Ukraine’s] Neptunes, first fielded in 2021, are based on the Soviet AS-20 ‘Kayak’anti-ship missile which is similar to the U.S.-built Harpoon missile.
Moskva was commissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1982 and is one of three Slava-class guided-missile cruisers.
The three 11,500-ton Slavas were designed around launchers that can hold 16 SS-N-12 Sandbox anti-ship cruise missiles – each about the size of a telephone pole. Developed in the 1970s, the Slavas and the Sandboxes were designed to take on U.S. and NATO aircraft carriers by overwhelming them with a barrage of high-speed cruise missiles to sink ships.
A Russian landing ship was sunk by Ukrainian forces back in late March in the southern port city of Berdyansk.
USNI separately reported:
A senior U.S. defense official confirmed to reporters on Friday that Ukrainian forces had struck and destroyed the Alligator-class LST while it was pierside. …
It is unclear whether the attack involved a ballistic missile or a drone. The U.S. defense official would not say what Ukraine used to attack the ship, citing operational security for Ukrainian forces. The Alligator-class ship was performing a resupply mission, the official said, as fighting continues in the port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
This report has been updated to include additional information.