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Ukraine conflict: Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet flagship sinks

Moskva had supported Russia's operations in Syria and was providing area air defence to the Black Sea Fleet. (Yörük Işık)

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced late on 14 April that its Project 1164 Slava (Atlant) class cruiser Moskva sank as it was being towed to port following earlier damage.

Conflicting reports as to the cause of the damage have been made, the Russian MoD stated that a fire onboard the cruiser led to the detonation of ammunition. However, in a post on his Telegram social media account on 13 April, governor for the Odessa region Maksym Marchenko said that Moskva had been seriously damaged by missiles fired from the Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile system. He did not provide any evidence to support this claim.

The Russian MoD attributed the sinking to a loss of stability due to hull damage and stormy sea conditions. The MoD previously stated that the crew was completely evacuated.

Without imagery of the Moskva, the exact cause and extent of damage to the ship could not be ascertained at the time of writing.

The ship was a critical component in the Russian military's campaign in the south of Ukraine, and was providing area air defence cover to naval assets, as well as offering shore bombardment and land attack capabilities.

According to the US State Department, Moskva had been operating 60-65 n miles off the coast of Odessa.


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