Pentagon backs Ukraine’s claim it hit Russian warship with two missiles
Ukrainian forces hit the Russian warship Moskva with two Neptune missiles, causing it to catch fire and sink in the Black Sea, the Pentagon told The Hill Friday.
“We can confirm the Russian ship Moskva was struck by two Ukrainian Neptune missiles,” a senior defense official said.
The U.S. assertion backs up the account of Ukrainian forces, who on Thursday claimed to have struck the Moskva with the anti-ship cruise missiles, seriously damaging what’s known as the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
Russia only acknowledged that the entire crew of the vessel was forced to evacuate after an overnight fire caused the ship’s stored ammunition to explode but did not mention an attack.
The Russian navy later attempted to tow the ship into port on the Crimea peninsula for repairs, but it sank.
The Moskva – which can carry a crew of about 500 – gained prominence at the start of the invasion when it told Ukrainian troops on Snake Island to surrender, only to be told to “f—” itself. The moment was widely shared as a rallying cry and sign of Ukrainian resistance.
Its sinking could prompt a ramp up of the Kremlin’s attacks on Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry warned it will increase strikes in retaliation for hits on Moscow’s assets, even as it continued to deny the ship had been successfully attacked.
Russian forces are also gearing up for a renewed offensive on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
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