The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 April that the guided-missile cruiser Moskva had been severely damaged when ammunition exploded on board. They also stated that the crew were forced to evacuate the vessel. The announcement came after reports that Ukrainian forces had hit the vessel with Neptune anti-ship missiles.
The 12,000-ton Slava-class cruiser and the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was reportedly hit by two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles 60 miles south of Odesa.
In reference to the Snake Island incident of 24 February, Maksym Marchenko, head of Odesa regional administration wrote on his telegram channel: “It is confirmed, that Moskva missile cruiser went exactly where our border guards sent it on Zmiyiny Island! The Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea inflicted very serious damage on the Russian ship.”
Speaking to the BBC, Michael Petersen of the Russia Maritime Studies Institute said that the warship is a “symbol of Russian naval power in the Black Sea. The Moskva has been a thorn in the side of the Ukrainians since the beginning of this conflict. To see it damaged so badly…I think is going to be a real morale boost to the Ukrainians.”
The Russian MoD claims that a fire on board spread to the ammunition which caused an internal explosion. The crew were forced to leave the ship.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has so far not commented on the reports.
Update 14/04/2022 12:22: The Russian MoD has stated that explosions onboard the vessel have ceased and the fire is now under control. They also state that the vessel is afloat and being towed back to port.
Update 14/04/2022 15:35: The Pentagon assesses that the Moskva is damaged but is able to make its own way back to port and that it is very likely to be heading to Sevastapol for repairs.
Update 14/04/2022 21:10: The Russian MoD has announced that the Moskva has sunk. The MoD stated that the vessel was under tow and in a storm at the time of the sinking.