RUSSIA suffered one of its biggest losses in the war against Ukraine on April 14 when its Black Sea fleet flagship Moskva, a Slava class heavily armed guided-missile cruiser, was lost after a massive fire and ammunition explosion.
Russia launched its military operations against Ukraine almost seven weeks ago on February 24, 2022, but has failed to capture several key cities and targets due to the fierce resistance. As the war drags on so have losses on both sides
The Russian Defence Ministry claimed Moskva caught fire during action in the Black Sea. Later the ammunition stored on the warship exploded, crippling it. Russia claimed on April 14 that Moskva sank in rough seas while it was being towed to a nearby port after it sustained major damages.
“During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the designation port, the ship lost stability due to hull damage, sustained during the detonation of ammunition because of a fire. Amid the heavy storm, the ship sank,” Russian News Agency TASS reported.
However, Ukraine claims that its naval forces targeted Moskva with missiles.
Commodore GJ Singh (retd), a former Indian Navy officer, who during his service tenure worked closely with the Russians and had also visited the Black Sea explained that Moskva was a pride of the Russian Navy and its loss was a big setback.
“It is definitely a massive setback for Russia because this flagship warship was the pride of the Russian Navy fleet deployed in the Black Sea and on top of that on this ship was the base of the senior-most admiral or the Fleet Commander of Russia’s navy along with his team,” stated Commodore Singh.
Ukraine claimed that its forces were able to hit Moskva with two Neptune anti-ship missiles, setting it on fire and eventually sinking the warship.
Moskva was one of the two Slava class missile cruisers in the Russian Navy. Moskva was deployed near Ukraine’s port city Odesa which Russia had been targeting incessantly in its bid to capture the same.
“This warship had a huge team of sailors and officers who were experts in communication, gunnery, missile systems, planning and operations, torpedo, and navigation. There were experts on cyber warfare, space experts, and air-operations experts too. If Ukraine’s missiles have been able to hit the cruiser, then it is an earth-shattering incident for the Russians,” averred Commodore Singh.
“It was not fire on the board but Ukraine’s Neptune missile that was the reason behind the sinking of Moskva, as it was too coincidental for a cruiser ship to catch such a massive fire. “The credit should go to Ukraine as no matter what, this incident actually is a big morale booster for the Ukrainians at this hour, also such incidents boost the propaganda-war,” he added.
Ukraine also claimed that Moskva was armed with a plethora of anti-missile defence systems, so its forces used a Bayraktar TB2 combat drone to fool it. Then a land-based launcher near Odessa fired two Neptune missiles hitting Moskva.
Commodore Singh described this warfare tactic of diverting the enemy and then hitting them as ‘Red Herring’.
He also informed that Ukraine’s missile Neptune has a target range of 250 kilometres, However, he mentioned that these claims are not verified yet.
The United States of America also stated that Russia has lost Moskva, but it has so far not verified the two versions about the warship’s sinking. The Pentagon added that Moskva’s loss is a big blow to the Russians.