A Russian Navy’s Cruiser Moskva warship that was damaged by an explosion has sunk, Russia’s defence ministry has said.
The flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, the Project 1164 Slava class cruiser Moskva, suffered heavy damage while sailing in the Black Sea yesterday, with its 510-crew forced to evacuate.
The Russian Ministry of Defense acknowledged that the ammunition aboard the ship exploded after a fire broke out but did not disclose the exact causes of the fire.
Meanwhile, Ukraine claimed the responsibility for the damage to the Moskva. Kyiv says its missiles hit the warship. The United States says it also believes it was hit by Ukrainian missiles.
After saying initially the warship was afloat, late on Thursday the Russian defence ministry announced that the Moskva had been lost.
The 12,490-tonne vessel is the biggest Russian warship to be sunk in action since World War Two.
“While being towed… towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” the Russian defence ministry said.
Ukraine has said the captain of the warship was killed on board.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs, shared the claim on Telegram, saying that the ship’s captain, Anton Kuprin, had died during an “explosion and fire on board”.
Originally built in Ukraine during the Soviet era, the cruiser entered service in the early 1980s with the name Slava, before being recommissioned in 2000 with the current name as the new flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.
The Moskva underwent a major refit five years ago, and in its current configuration is armed with 16 P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship missiles, 64 S-300F (SA-N-6 Grumble) long-range surface-to-air missiles, 40 OSA-MA (SA-N-4 Gecko) short-range surface-to-air missiles, a twin AK-130 130mm dual-purpose gun, as well as six AK-630 close-in weapon systems and electronic warfare systems and decoys to provide a high degree of protection.