Sinking of warship a ‘big blow’ to Russian fleet: Pentagon

(File photo) The Russian Navy flagship missile cruiser ‘Moskva’ docked in the bay of the Crimean city of Sevastopolon on March 30, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry meets his Russian counterpart today hoping to ease global tensions over the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea and sudden buildup of troops near the eastern Ukrainian border. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP)


WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The sinking of the warship Moskva on Thursday after it was engulfed in an inferno was a “big blow” to Russia’s naval strength in the Black Sea, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The guided missile cruiser sank in rough seas after being damaged by fire during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Moscow’s defense ministry said.

But Ukraine said the ship had been hit in a rocket attack.

“This is a big blow to the Black Sea fleet, this is… a key part of their efforts to execute some sort of naval dominance in the Black Sea,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 3, 2013 Cuban police stand watch as the “Moskva” Russian guided missile cruiser moors at Havana’s harbour. – The Moskva, a Russian warship in the Black Sea, was “seriously damaged” by an ammunition explosion, Russian state media said on April 14, 2022. (Photo by Adalberto ROQUE / AFP)

“This is going to have an effect on their capabilities.”

Kirby said the United States could not confirm the exact cause of the ship’s demise.

“We’re also not in any position to refute the Ukrainian side of this,” he added. “It’s certainly plausible and possible that they did in fact hit this with a Neptune missile or maybe more.”

© Agence France-Presse

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