The unclear condition of the Russian leading ship threatens humiliation for Putin

Moscow 2005. Image via REUTERS

Moscow 2005Image via REUTERS

What is left of Moscow’s 186-meter-long, one of Russia’s largest naval ships is still unclear. Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the cruiser had sunk. “The biggest defeat of the Russian fleet since World War II,” the adviser wrote on Twitter.

But Russia claims the fire that broke out in Moscow has been put out. According to the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, it is trying to tow a warship back to port. The last time such a large naval vessel entered the war was nearly 40 years ago when a British submarine torpedoed Argentine Admiral Belgrano during the Falklands War. There were 323 deaths at the time.

According to the Russians, passengers from Moscow were evacuated. It is not clear how many people are involved, but there is room for 480 people on board. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. Moscow says a fire broke out on the ship on Wednesday night, after which the ammunition exploded. “The ship suffered serious damage,” the ministry said in response to announcements on Ukrainian social networks that Moscow was a target of Ukrainians.

The ministry was silent on the cause of the fire. The explosion must have been large, as the cruiser was armed with about 120 missiles to destroy ships and planes.