The Russian navy’s Black Sea flagship vessel, the Moskva missile cruiser, sank late Thursday, a day after Ukraine said it fired missiles at the warship.
According to the Russian defense ministry, as reported by state media Tass, the ship sank during a towing operation. “During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to damage to the hull received during the fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank,” the ministry claimed.
Russian authorities initially said the ship was “seriously damaged” due to a fire onboard, without acknowledging an attack. The 500 members of the crew were evacuated, the Russian ministry said.
Ukraine had said its military fired on the Moskva. “Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship,” Maksym Marchenko, the head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration, said on Telegram.
The Moskva and its crew were memorably told to “go fuck yourself” by a Ukrainian soldier during the attack on Snake Island at the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Early on Friday, explosions were heard in Kyiv, Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko wrote on Twitter. The lawmaker said that three explosions were heard in the capital, adding that “most likely [Russian President Vladimir] Putin gone livid because of the Moskva sinking.”
In an overnight address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ukrainians for having survived 50 days under Russian invasion and paid homage to “those who have shown that Russian ships can go… to the bottom only.”