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Losses when Russia lost the most powerful battleship in the Black Sea

The Moscow flagship was burned and incapacitated, making it difficult for Russian forces to blockade and establish an air defense cell in the Black Sea.

Department of Defense Russia On April 14, it was announced that the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, was badly damaged after a fire caused an explosion in an ammunition depot, forcing the evacuation of more than 500 sailors. The fire on board was then contained and the cruiser Moskva was towed to port, with the missile launchers intact.

The Russian military has not revealed the cause of the fire on the Moscow flagship, but Maksym Marchenko, mayor of the southern port city of Odessa Ukrainesaid two Neptune anti-ship missiles caused heavy damage to the Russian ship, but did not provide evidence.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych announced that “suddenly arrived the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet”, but confirmed that Kiev “didn’t know what happened”.

The cruiser Moskva ran a test run off the Crimean peninsula in 2021. Photo: Twitter/Capt_Navy.

The cruiser Moskva ran a test run off the Crimean peninsula in 2021. Photo: Twitter/Capt_Navy.

This is considered a serious loss for Russian forces, because Moscow is the most powerful surface warship in the region, playing the role of flagship of the Black Sea Fleet and participating in the military campaign in Ukraine from the very beginning. head.

In the early days of the military campaign, the cruiser Moskva was one of the Russian naval ships that approached Zmiinyi Island, one of the important features in Ukraine’s territorial waters and also a base for the country’s military to track. maritime operations in the Black Sea. This is the warship that sends a message to the soldiers on Zmiinyi Island to surrender.

Moscow is a Russian Project 1164 Atlant guided missile heavy cruiser. The ship is 186 m long, 21 m wide and has a displacement of 12,000 tons.

Moscow’s main armament is 16 P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship missiles with a range of 800 km, each bullet is equivalent to a MiG-17 fighter and weighs about 5 tons, carrying a semi-armored warhead containing 950 kg of high explosive or nuclear warhead equivalent to 350,000 tons of TNT.

It is also equipped with 64 long-range anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 90 km, 40 short-range anti-aircraft missiles and a variety of automatic cannons, anti-submarine weapons and electronic warfare systems.

The doctrine of using cruisers of the former Soviet Union is different from that of the United States. Instead of escorting aircraft carriers, cruisers like Moscow’s primary mission is to attack enemy aircraft carriers.

The Ukrainian Navy does not own large warships in the Black Sea, making the Vulkan missile system of the cruiser Moskva unable to show strength in the military campaign. However, the S-300F Fort air defense complex, the naval version of the S-300 missile, with 64 rounds allows Moscow to establish an air defense umbrella over the Black Sea, limiting the activities of the Ukrainian air force and protecting the country. ground forces fighting in the southern part of the country.

“The S-300F Fort air defense complex allows the Moscow battleship to cover most of the northern Black Sea area during patrols. This appears to be part of a multi-layered defense network with the participation of the S complex. -400 at the Sevastopol military port and similar systems deployed throughout the Crimean peninsula,” said military expert HI Sutton.

The Moscow train areas appeared from February 24 to April 4.  Graphics: Naval News.

The Moscow train areas appear from February 24 to April 4. Graphics: Naval News.

During the early stages of the conflict, the cruiser Moskva mainly operated near the island of Zmiinyi, away from the main battle areas and the strategic port city of Odessa in southern Ukraine.

Odessa is Ukraine’s key port in the Black Sea and is considered one of Russia’s top targets, because controlling the area means Ukraine will have almost no access to the sea. It also allows Moscow to establish a land corridor with the breakaway Transnistria region in Moldova.

Open source data shared on social media shows that the Russian navy began a deterrence operation near Odessa on March 2, including setting up a fence to block a Ukrainian seaport. However, there is no sign of Moscow participating in this operation, as the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet maintains a position far from shore.

“Moskva is an old warship, it is not equipped with Kalibr ground-attack cruise missiles. That is why it does not directly participate in raids against targets deep in Ukrainian territory like the wars. another ship,” commented Sutton.

The Russian Navy then began showing off its ability to strike from the sea by deploying six large amphibious ships off the coast of Odessa, but then suddenly moved them to another location. This operation is considered a diversionary measure to hold back Ukrainian forces in Odessa.

The cruiser Moskva appeared off Odessa in at least two waves on March 15 and March 30. It is supported by many Russian warships or set up an anti-aircraft umbrella in offshore positions, as well as being able to take on the mission of the command center of the operation.

The appearance of the Ukrainian battlefield after 8 weeks of fighting.  Graphics: Al Jazeera.  Click on the picture to see details.

The appearance of the Ukrainian battlefield after 8 weeks of fighting. Click on the picture to see details.

Military expert Tyler Rogoway believes that the loss of the battleship of the Moscow flagship is a heavy loss for Russia, when it only possesses three Project 1164 cruisers. They are the third largest surface battleships in the border. Russian navy, second only to the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the nuclear cruiser Pytor the Great.

“The Moscow ship’s dense defensive net makes it like a fortress against threats,” Rogoway said. “So, if the Neptune missile can actually penetrate this defense, it could be an important victory in terms of Ukraine’s operations and propaganda.”

Vu Anh (According to Interfax, Naval News)

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