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MOSKVA, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was damaged by an explosion on 14 April, following which it sank, the Russian Ministry of Defence has announced. According to the official statement, MOSKVA was being towed to port when “stormy seas” caused it to sink.

The Ukrainian Government claims that MOSKVA was hit by two Ukrainian NEPTUN anti-ship cruise missiles. The United States declared it also believed she was hit by Ukrainian missiles, although Russian sources have not reported any attack. The fire caused the explosion of the warship’s ammunition, Russian sources claim, adding that the entire crew were later evacuated to nearby Russian vessels in the Black Sea.

The 12,500 tonne missile cruiser and lead ship of the ATLANT class is the biggest Russian warship to be sunk in action since WWII. With a length of 187 metres she had a complement of 510 and could reach a top speed of 32 knots. The weapons fit consisted of:

  • anti-ship and surface-to-air missile systems
  • dual-purpose guns
  • close-in weapon systems
  • ASW mortars
  • torpedoes