The message of defiance is delivered loud and clear as the Russian flagship sinks


It was the fearful, quickly muttered expression of defiance that became Ukraine‘s unofficial national motto. “Russian warship, fuck yourself,” a border guard told the missile cruiser Moskva on the first day of the war when it was ordered to surrender. Now it has done just that. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet sank last night after ammunition exploded in a fire on board. The cause of the sinking is being investigated, it said. The terse announcement came a few hours after Maksym Marchenko, the governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, revealed that the ship had been hit by two Neptune anti-ship missiles and “went exactly where it was said to”. “It’s burning,” said Oleksiy Arestovich, an aide to the president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he told an interviewer around the same time. Details of the Moskva’s latest action are scant, but the loss of the flagship is a major blow to Russia’s Black Sea operations.

The Russians previously said the fire on board had been extinguished and the ship was still afloat and being towed back to port.
According to Russian sources, about 500 seamen were said to have been on board and evacuated.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN yesterday the ship was badly damaged. A Western official later said it was unlikely that a munitions fire caused the damage, as Russia had claimed.
“However, no one has released footage or photos, and because the fire, the explosion, the missile attack, or all three, happened after dark and at sea, we don’t have the usual cellphone video that has so usefully shed light on the land war.” Mr. Kirby said.
A pro-Russian Telegram channel linked to the Wagner mercenary group said the ship’s defenses were distracted by a Ukrainian Bayraktar drone and two missiles hit the port side, resulting in a heavy list.
It was abandoned because of the risk of a munitions explosion, it said.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] The message of defiance is delivered loud and clear as the Russian flagship sinks

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