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Why the sinking of Russia's warship is an embarrassment for Putin – and what it means for the war

Russia’s Black Sea Flagship sinking is a major blow to Moscow’s war effort, and a huge embarrassment to President Vladimir Putin.

When it was lost off the coast Ukraine, the Moskva became first cruiser to die in conflict since the Falklands War.

It could be the largest warship ever to sink in wartime, at 12,500 tonnes, and it is larger than the ill-fated general Belgrano.

Putin warns West about’very painful consequences’ if Russian oil is not replaced – live Ukraine updates

Image: On 7 April, the Moskva was in Sevastopol (Crimea). Pic: Maxar Technologies via AP

Ukraine claims it struck the missile cruiser with two antiship missiles Wednesday.

Russia have not confirmed an attack. It claimed that a fire aboard caused ammunition to explode, which triggered the damage.

Stormy weather caused the ship to sink and it was towed to shore.

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The Moskva, a Soviet-era ship built to challenge US power

In 1983, the Soviet navy first saw the Moskva in service. It was constructed in then-Soviet Ukraine. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was renamed Moskva (“Moscow”) in 1995.

It provided security for the December 1989 meeting between US President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta. Vladimir Putin also met with world leaders onboard.

Multiple anti-ship and surface to air missiles are available for the Moskva.

Russia also has two ships of the same type, the Marshal Ustinov (pictured above) and the Varyag (pictured below), which are part of Russia’s Northern Pacific and Pacific fleets. operating in distant oceans.

These ships were built in the Soviet Union in late 1970s in order to combat US aircraft carriers groups and provide air defense to Soviet vessels

According to a Western official, the Russian explanation for the damage is “difficult” to believe. If true, it would indicate serious incompetence on the part the Russian military.

The official stated that the Ukrainian claim was “credible” in contrast.

The loss, however, is another setback for Russia in its war against Ukraine, which enters its eighth-week without a major victory and has already suffered heavy losses of personnel, equipment, and other material.

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Putin will also need to explain why the Black Sea’s leading warship is gone.

The sinking of Ukraine is a welcome relief for a country that has been and continues to be battered by Russian missiles and rockets and tank fire.

If Ukraine’s claim of a missile strike is true, then it signals the ability to attack ships from shore. This means that other Russian vessels in Black Sea and Sea of Azov could be at risk. Their commanders may not have anticipated this.


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