The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 April that the guided-missile cruiser Moskva has sunk following an internal explosion. The MoD claims the vessel had been severely damaged due to an ammunition explosion and sank while under tow to the Russian naval base of Sevastopol in the Crimea.
On 13 April, Ukrainian forces claimed that they had struck the 12,000-ton Slava-class cruiser and the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet with 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 late Wednesday: “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.”
The Russian MoD reported that a fire onboard had spread to the ammunition which caused an internal explosion and that the crew were forced to leave the ship.
A US defence official had earlier stated that the vessel was still afloat and was heading towards Sevastopol for repairs.
“We do believe that [the cruiser] has experienced significant damage. Our assessment is that [the crew] still appears to be battling a fire onboard. But we do not know the extent of the damage. We don’t know anything about casualties to [the] crew. And we cannot definitively say at this point what caused that damage,” the official said.
“During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the designation port, the ship lost stability due to hull damage, sustained during the detonation of ammunition because of a fire. Amid the heavy storm, the ship sank,” the Russian MoD said.
The Moskva had a crew of around 500.