Several sources, including a Ukrainian military officer and Russian state news media, said on Wednesday that a Russian battleship in the Black Sea had been “severely damaged,” albeit each claimed a different reason for the devastation.
According to Maxim Marchenko, commander of the armed forces in Odessa, Ukrainian soldiers attacked the ship with anti-ship Neptune missiles, according to a Telegram message. The vessel, he said, was the same one that had been notoriously and indecently reprimanded by Ukrainian forces in February, and that it had gone “exactly where it had been directed by our border guards on Snake Island!”
The Russian Ministry of Defense subsequently said that ordnance had burst aboard the ship, which was a missile cruiser named the Moskva, as a consequence of “fire,” according to the official news outlet Tass. The ship was a missile cruiser named the Moskva. The crew had been evacuated from the ship, according to the news agency, and the cause of the fire was under investigation, according to the report.
We were unable to corroborate either of these accounts independently. If Mr. Marchenko’s statements are right, the damage to the battleship would represent a significant military victory for Ukraine, since the Moskva is the flagship vessel of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and a strong military asset.
According to Russian news outlets, the ship, which is more than 600 feet long, initially entered service with the Soviet Navy in the early 1980s and is equipped with 16 Vulkan missile launchers with a striking range of more than 400 miles. It has been in duty with the Soviet Navy since then. As part of the Syrian air defence mission, it was stationed off the coast of Syria in 2015. It also patrolled the coast of Georgia during a war with Russia in 2008.
Although Ukraine has claimed to have destroyed Russian vessels several times since the start of the conflict, the accuracy of its claims has not always been independently confirmed.
A Russian ship was set ablaze in the port of Berdiansk, which is under Russian control in southern Ukraine, according to reports from Ukraine’s military in March, and videos and images seen by The New York Times verified that a Russian ship was on fire at the port.