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Russia’s Moskva has sunk

Russia’s Moskva has sunk

Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, damaged by an explosion on Wednesday, has sunk. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the ship was towed to port when “stormy seas” caused it to sink.

Ukraine claims to hit the warship, while Ukraine has not reported any attack. It says the vessel sank after a fire.

According to Russia, the blaze caused the warship’s ammunition to explode, and the entire crew was later evacuated to nearby Russian ships in the Black Sea. It didn’t go into any further detail.

After saying initially the warship was afloat, late Thursday, Russian state media broke the news that the Moskva had been lost.

“While towed... towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” state news agency Tass quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.

Ukrainian military officials said they struck the Moskva with Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles - a weapon designed after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and the naval threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea grew.

A senior Ukrainian official said as many as 510 crew could have been on board the Moskva.

If the Ukrainian attack is confirmed, the 12,490-tonne Moskva would be the biggest warship to be sunk by enemy action since World War Two.