As per Russian state media, the 12,500 tons missile cruiser ship has been “seriously damaged.”
On Thursday evening, the Russian Defence Ministry said that efforts are being made to tow the Moskva missile cruiser back to the port after dousing its fire. Earlier, the ministry had said that the blaze broke out after ammunition blew up on board.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian military claimed it hit Moskva with its Neptune anti-ship cruise missile.
Neither of the claims has been verified.
The 186-metre long warship, manned by a crew of 510, led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine, making it a significant symbolic and military target. The damage to the warship “Moskva” is all the more symbolic because it was the same ship that had demanded the surrender of 13 Ukrainian troops on Snake Island in the early days of the war – receiving the iconic reply: ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself.’
How Important is Moskva
During the Syrian conflict, Russia has previously used the warship to protect its airbase, Hmeimim. According to Reuters, it carries 15 anti-ship Vulkan cruise missiles with a range of 700 kilometres. The warship is also equipped with anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons.
The ship can also carry a helicopter.
An Accident or a Missile Hit?
Moscow has blamed the blast on Moskva to an unexplained fire onboard, not mentioning anything about a missile strike.
“As the result of a fire on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The crew was completely evacuated.”
On the other hand, Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to Ukraine’s President, shared a video on Twitter showing what he said was Russia’s Moskva cruiser being struck by their Neptune missiles.