Mosvká: Russia suffers another military setback with the explosion of the flagship of its fleet in the Black Sea | International
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The missile cruiser Mosvka (Moscow), the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, used to make headlines in the Russian press under the nickname “Carrier Killer”. A simple change of course to go to the Mediterranean was already reason to write a few lines about the ship, which in 2015 fulfilled the important mission of protecting Russian aviation in Latakia, Syria, after the shooting down of a plane by Turkey. He was now assigned another key task: to support his troops in the invasion of the Ukraine. For this reason, its disablement – Russia assures that it was due to a fire and Ukraine, that it is an attack by the Kiev troops – represents a new setback for the Russian Navy, which already lost its deputy chief of the Fleet of the Black Sea, and the Army is left unprotected without an important anti-aircraft shield on its southern front.
“As a result of a fire, the ammunition exploded. The ship was seriously damaged and the crew was completely evacuated,” the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday night, as soon as the event occurred. Shortly before, the governor of the Ukrainian region of Odessa, Maksim Marchenko, announced that the ship had been attacked with “Neptun” (Neptune) missiles. Moscow has offered this Thursday some more details. “The cruise ship retains its buoyancy, measures are being taken to tow it to port,” added the Kremlin without confirming the reason for her damage, which, according to Moscow, has yet to be clarified.
The Moskva It is part of the 1164 Atlant series of missile cruisers, known by NATO as the Slava class. The ship, launched in 1979, “combines her speed and range with high maneuverability, and is capable of operating in remote areas of the oceans,” according to experts consulted by the Russian news agency Interfax. In addition, their weapons make these ships hedgehogs against any threat: their arsenal includes 16 P-1000 Vulkán supersonic anti-ship missiles, whose radius of action reaches 800 kilometers; S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems, equivalent to the American Patriots, and anti-submarine batteries.
This ship had the honor of testing the supersonic missile for the first time almost a year ago, on April 30, 2021. The cruise ship fired the rocket “to the other end of the Black Sea” and a drone captured the destruction of the target 100 seconds later , according to the coverage that Zvezdá did then, the official network of the Ministry of Defense. “These missiles are why they call our carrier killer cruiser,” the channel gleefully said during the launch.
Pride of the Russian Navy
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The Black Sea Fleet is the pride of the Russian Navy. Tsarina Catherine II, Catherine the Great, ordered Admiral Grigori Potemkin to create it after the conquest of Crimea at the end of the 18th century, thus establishing the strategic base of Sevastopol, which in 2014 returned to Russian hands after the internationally unacknowledged annexation of the Crimean peninsula. His deeds against the Turkish and Napoleonic armies have been reflected in the paintings of one of the most important Russian romantic painters, Iván Aivazovsky, and long after, the revolt of the battleship Potemkin after the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, he would light the fuse of a revolutionary century.
Before the Ukraine war, its most important role was the protection of Russian aviation in Syria. In November 2015, at the start of the campaign in the Mediterranean country, a Turkish fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 on the border with Syria and one of its occupants was shot dead in a rebel zone. As a result of that event, Moscow sent the cruiser Moskva to act as a protective umbrella in Latakia. “Any target that represents a potential danger to us will be destroyed,” Deputy Defense Minister Sergei Rudskói warned at the time.
Seven years later, the cruiser has led Russian maritime operations against Ukraine, including shelling it on land with its missiles. At the beginning of the offensive, he also participated in the seizure of the Serpent Island, an episode that gained notoriety due to the broadcast of some audios where the Ukrainian border guards answered the order to surrender abruptly before being arrested. “Russian warship: screw you,” answered the soldier Roman Gríbov, who was awarded by the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, after his recent release.
The wreckage of Moskva they represent the third severe setback suffered by the Black Sea Fleet in just two months. On March 24, the amphibious transport ship was destroyed in the port of Berdiansk. Saratovcapable of landing dozens of battle tanks and hundreds of soldiers.
And in early March, the deputy commander of the fleet, Captain First Rank Andrei Palii, was killed in action. This high command had been entrusted with opening a humanitarian corridor in the port city of Mariupol and, according to the kyiv version, he was killed by a sniper. Born eight years before the launch of the MoskvaDuring his extensive career, Palii also played a key role in Syria as deputy head of the Russian Armed Forces in that country. His death, like the destruction of his flagship, has overshadowed the Kremlin’s message of an extremely cautious campaign to avoid unnecessary loss: the explosions of the Moskva They have left the surrender of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers in the besieged city of Mariupol in the background just one day later.
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