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Crew evacuates Russian flagship after Ukraine boasts of missile attack

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/14/2022 Daniel Chaitin
Russian navy missile cruiser Moskva seen in 2015. © (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP) Russian navy missile cruiser Moskva seen in 2015.

The crew of a Russian navy missile cruiser that led the famous attack on Snake Island in the Black Sea at the start of the invasion of Ukraine has ditched the vessel.

Ukrainian officials claimed Wednesday that their military blasted the flagship vessel with missiles, though Russia later only publicly conceded damage due to a fire while announcing the crew had abandoned ship.

"As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated" aboard the cruiser Moskva, leading the crew to evacuate the ship, said the Russian Defense Ministry, according to an English translation of a Russian state-run TASS report. The minister also said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Earlier in the day, Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko claimed Ukrainian military forces hit the warship.

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"Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine!" he said in a post to Telegram.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said "a surprise happened with the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet" and that "it burns strongly. Right now. And with this stormy sea, it is unknown whether they will be able to receive help. There are 510 crew members," according to a YouTube video reported by AFP.

Moskva is reportedly the warship that led the attack on the defenders of Snake Island on the first day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

According to early accounts, 13 Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island, also known as Zmiinyi Island, were reported to have perished after one told an imposing Russian warship to "go f*** yourself" when they were instructed to lay down their weapons and surrender. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the 13 guards believed to have died as heroes, saying they would be "awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously.”

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However, after Russia claimed that a garrison at the outpost had voluntarily surrendered to its forces, the Ukrainian Navy said the defenders were "alive and well." Ukraine's border guard agency said the country hopes to have those soldiers freed, as civilian Ukrainian sailors captured when they tried to rescue the defenders of Snake Island were released as part of a prisoner exchange last month.

A patrol corvette, the Vasily Bykov, which was also part of the Snake Island takeover, was previously believed to have been destroyed, Ukrainian military sources told London-based newspaper the Times in late March. However, that ship was later spotted undamaged in Crimea.

 

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Tags: News, War in Ukraine, Ukraine, Russia, National Security, Navy

Original Author: Daniel Chaitin

Original Location: Crew evacuates Russian flagship after Ukraine boasts of missile attack

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