Russia’s Black Sea flagship sinks after sustaining major damage

Russian Navy’s Slava-class guided-missile cruiser Moskva has sunk while being towed to the designation port after sustaining serious damage in a fire.

The information was confirmed by the Russian Defence Ministry, through the Russian state media. According to the officials, during the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the 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.”

Earlier on, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that the ship was hit by the Neptune missiles, causing serious damage to the hull, however, the Russian officials have not yet confirmed this.

The ministry said that the crew was evacuated to nearby Black Sea Fleet ships, adding that the cause of the incident is being determined.

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Meanwhile, the US Navy officials gave statements regarding the incident.

“There’s lots of things on a surface combatant that are combustible … that can cause explosions and cause fires,” the US official said.

“The Moskva has munitions, artillery rounds, missiles, a propulsion plant and plenty of fuel onboard – any of which could explode for any number of reasons. Any sailor will tell you, especially a sailor who served on a surface combatant, on any given day that the risk of a fire and explosion is real. And that’s why [the Navy] takes damage control and fire prevention so seriously. On every U.S. Navy ship, we consider every sailor a firefighter for good reason.”

The cruiser Moskva, commissioned in 1983 as Slava and renamed Moskva in 2000, measures about 186.5 meters in length with a beam, or width, of about 20.7 meters. It is the lead vessel of Project 1164 Atlant. 

Moskva is not the first Russian warship to be damaged by Ukrainian military forces. Last month, the Ukrainian officials revealed that the Russian Navy’s landing ship Orsk was destroyed in the port city of Berdyansk.

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Photo: George Chemilevsky, Courtesy Photo/US DoD