The Russian Navy’s main vessel in the Black Sea, the cruiser Moskva (Moscow) sank on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed.
According to the official Russian statement, the ship was unable to be towed amidst “stormy seas” after suffering munitions explosions on Wednesday.
The Russian narrative, however, contrasts with the statement of the Ukrainian government, which announced that it had hit the cruiser with the anti-ship missile Neptune, developed in the country.
It remains unclear how Ukraine could have hit the 12,500-tonne vessel, which was heavily armed, but Ukrainian officials said the Bayraktar TB2 drone, which has been famous for causing serious damage to the Russian military, also played a important role in the attack.
The Turkish unmanned plane has compact dimensions and a very high autonomy, but its capacity to carry weapons, of only 150 kg, would not allow it to carry the Neptune missile, which weighs five times that much.
Instead of attacking the ship, Bayraktar would have served either as a distraction for Moskva’s defense system or to locate its position and facilitate the work of the Neptune, which would then proceed with the radar system off and therefore “invisible”, as described by the Forbes.
The US government said it had not been able to confirm the Turkish allegations, although it found them quite credible.
One of the indications that the Moskva was attacked and not suffered an accident is the fact that five other vessels that were close to the cruiser had moved away from it, in an alleged attempt to avoid Ukrainian missiles.
Main Russian vessel in the region
The Moskva was a guided-missile cruiser, arranged on the sides of her deck and with a range of 700 km.
The vessel was commissioned in 1983 still under the name Slava, having been renamed after the Russian capital in 2000, when she returned to active duty after seven years.
For analysts, the loss of Moskva may not seriously affect Russian plans in Ukraine, but it is yet another indication of the chaotic military campaign of the country ruled by President Vladimir Putin.
Editor’s Note: The original content mistakenly attributed the alleged attack on Moskva to the Bayraktar drone.