A Russian warship in the Black Sea was “seriously damaged” on Wednesday, according to a Ukrainian military official and Russian state news agencies, although each claimed a different cause for the destruction.
The Chief of the Armed Forces of Odessa, Maxim Marchenko, said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces had hit the ship with anti-ship Neptune missiles. He claimed it was the same ship that was famously and obscenely narrated by Ukrainian troops in February, saying it “went right where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!”
Hours later, the Russian Defense Ministry said munitions had exploded on the ship, a missile cruiser called the Moskva, as a result of “a fire,” according to the state news agency Tass† The agency said the crew of the ship had been evacuated and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Neither account could be independently confirmed. If Mr Marchenko’s claims are correct, the damage to the warship would mean a remarkable military triumph for Ukraine – the formidable Moskva is the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
The ship, which is more than 180 meters long, first entered service with the Soviet Navy in the early 1980s and carries 16 Vulkan rocket launchers with a range of more than 400 miles, Russian news agencies have reported. It was deployed off the coast of Syria in 2015 to provide air defense and patrolled off the coast of Georgia during a conflict with Russia in 2008.
Ukraine has repeatedly claimed to have destroyed Russian warships since the start of the war, but its reports have not always been independently verified.
In March, the Ukrainian army said it had destroyed a Russian ship in the port of Berdiansk, under Russian occupation in southern Ukraine, and videos and photos reviewed by The New York Times confirmed that a Russian ship was on fire in the port. .
SOURCE – www.nytimes.com