By: Heather Mongilio – April 13, 2022 8:35 PM – USNI News
The Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship has suffered major damage and the crew has abandoned the ship, state media said late Tuesday in reports following Ukrainian claims of hitting the ship with a missile strike.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the mishap on RTS Moskva (121), a ship in the country’s Black Sea Fleet, according to state-run outlet TASS.
The crew of the Moskva the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet was severely damaged and the crew abandoned ship, the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS.
A fire broke out on the ship, causing ammunition to detonate, according to TASS. State media did not elaborate on the cause of the fire.
Ukrainian officials claimed that shore-based anti-ship guided missiles hit Moskva which had been operating from the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea.
“It has been confirmed that the missile cruiser Moskva today went exactly where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island!” Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said in a Telegram message on Tuesday.
“Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship.”
Neptunes, first fielded in 2021, are based on the Soviet AS-20 ‘Kayak’anti-ship missile which is similar to the U.S.-built Harpoon missile.
Moskva was commissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1982 and is one of three Slava-class guided-missile cruisers.
The three 11,500-ton Slavas were designed around launchers that can hold 16 SS-N-12 Sandbox anti-ship cruise missiles – each about the size of a telephone pole. Developed in the 1970s, the Slavas and the Sandboxes were designed to take on U.S. and NATO aircraft carriers by overwhelming them with a barrage of high-speed cruise missiles to sink ships.
The two other Slavas are RTS Marshal Ustinov (055) and RFS Varyag (011) have been operating in the Mediterranian.
Moskva is not the first Russian warship to be damaged in the nearly 50-day invasion of Ukraine. A landing ship sank off the port of Ukrainian city Berdiansk after being attacked by Ukrainian forces, USNI News previously reported.
The ship’s fire ultimately damaged a merchant ship at port in Berdiansk, causing damage.