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Russia: Warship Seriously Damaged by Explosion in Black Sea
By Staff, Agencies
Russia announced Thursday that a warship in the Black Sea was “seriously damaged” after Ukraine said its forces had hit it with missiles, while Russia’s defense ministry blamed it on an ammunition explosion.
“As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged,” the ministry said, as reported by Russian state media.
The 12,500 metric ton ship has a crew of around 500, which was evacuated, according to the report.
Atlant-class missile cruiser, launched in 1979, is armed with 16 anti-ship missiles and many more air defense missiles, torpedoes and guns. It is part of the Black Sea Fleet, and has been engaged in operations off the coast of Ukraine since February.
Ukrainian officials on Wednesday evening claimed that a battery of their Neptune anti-ship missiles hidden in Odessa had successfully struck the Moskva twice, setting the cruiser ablaze. Among those making the claim were Maksim Marchenko, head of the military administration in Odessa, and Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Interior Ministry in Kiev.
They did not provide any evidence for their claims, however. One Ukrainian Telegram channel reportedly posted – then deleted – a photo of an Iranian vessel that caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman last year.
Odessa Governor Maksym Marchenko wrote on Telegram that Neptune missiles had “caused very serious damage.”
Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said that "a surprise happened with the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.”
"It burns strongly,” he said on YouTube. “Right now. And with this stormy sea, it is unknown whether they will be able to receive help. There are 510 crew members. We don't understand what happened."
This comes after Russia's defense ministry said on Wednesday that 1,026 Ukrainian marines, including 162 officers, had surrendered in the Black Sea port Mariupol.
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