Russia’s Moskva guided-missile cruiser vessel has been allegedly struck by two long-range Neptune anti-ship rockets, at least three Ukrainian officials announced late on April 13.  

As a result, the flagship vessel of Russia’s Black Sea fleet suffered damage, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, Interior Minister adviser Anton Herashchenko and Odesa oblast Governor Maksym Marchenko said on various social media platforms .

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Russia, through state media agency Tass, said crew members of the warship were evacuated but stipulated that the damage was caused by ammunition detonating on the vessel.

“As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged. The crew was completely evacuated,” the military department of Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

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The Moskva cruiser vessel is the same ship to whom a Ukrainian border guardsman had issued expletives on Snake Island in the Black Sea in response to being told to surrender with other servicemen.

The 610-foot long ship is presumably miles off the Black Sea shore where Ukraine’s forces near the port city of Odesa are stationed. Five-hundred crew members are on board, according to Arestovych.

Forbes reported that Moskva “controls the waters around Ukraine but has been unable to totally suppress Ukraine’s coastal defenses.”

The publication also reported that for a Neptune rocket, which has a low-altitude range of up to 300 kilometers, to strike the vessel, it would need “accurate targeting data to the battery, via a drone, land-based radar or some other sensor.”

After the Ukrainian reports, Moscow threatened to strike Kyiv command “centers” if Ukraine continues to attack Russia, AFP reported.

Alleged audio intercepts of Russia’s navy found by the Kyiv Post on social media showed one male complaining that Ukrainian forces used an airplane northeast of the port city of Mykolayiv as a decoy, distracting the ship’s anti-air defense systems and allowing the Neptune rockets to strike.

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Open-source intelligence sources who follow naval traffic said that the vessel sent out a Morse code that it was sinking at around 1:05 am on April 14 local time.

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