October 5, 2022

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With a missile or fire, the loss of the cruiser Moskva is heavy for Russia

The cruiser Moskva, the main flagship of the Russian forces in the Black Sea, sinks in the waters off Odessa. Whether it was the Ukrainian missiles that hit it – as Kyiv claims – or a fire on board for uncertain reasons – as Moscow claims – the outcome does not change much: Russia has lost a significant part of its offensive capability against Russia. Ukraine. The ship is actually a missile launcher and was able to hit many targets from the sea.

Opposite versions

Even with regard to the final fate of Moskva, however, there is no consensus and the two versions are opposing: for the Russian Ministry of Defense, she will remain afloat and “will be dragged into port.” But for the Ukrainian Southern Operations Command, the cruiser capsized and is said to have sank after being hit by a Neptune missile. The entire crew was already evacuated overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, but attempts by other Russian ships to rescue were unsuccessful due to sea conditions and an explosion on board, possibly due to ammunition.

It must be said that even for Pentagon experts, both versions are reasonable: “It is possible that the Russian cruiser was hit by a missile, but it is also possible that there was a fire on board due to an internal problem,” he said. Indeed, CNN spokesperson John Kirby confirmed, among other things, that information that the US has the ship “is still afloat. We believe that the ship is heading to Sevastopol for repairs.

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Impact on a potential Russian attack

In any case, the Moscow budget is being felt this time. With the loss of the cruiser Moskva to Russia, 56 cruise missiles remained in the Black Sea, distributed among five ships and four submarines: this is the estimate of Andrei Klimenko, an expert at the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Black Sea. On board the Moskva were actually 16 cruise missiles out of a total of 72 (more than a fifth of the potential). The frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov and the corvettes Vishny Volochyuk, Ingushetia and Greyvoron currently carry eight missiles for a total of 40 devices. Then there are the submarines Rostov-on-Don, Stary Oskol, Veliky Novgorod and Kolpino with four each for another 16 missiles. Moreover, according to Klimenko, Moskva (assuming it does not sink) will remain out of business for at least a year.

In addition to missiles, there is more. The main ship also played the role of “protection” and cover against other Russian warships: the Ukrainian forces had already struck four ships and now the Russian ships could be more vulnerable to attacks from Kyiv.