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Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

The Moskva missile cruiser in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 7, 2014

Exactly two years ago, on April 13, 2022, the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, sank to the bottom of the Black Sea. It was hit by Ukrainian-made Neptune cruise missiles fired from a coastal anti-ship complex.

It was the first time in 30 years that a ship of this size had been destroyed in combat, becoming the most expensive loss during the full-scale invasion and the largest loss of the Russian navy since 1941 when Hitler's army destroyed the battleship Marat. Read more about the Moskva defeat and its uniqueness in the OBOZ.UA article.

Russian cruiser Moskva

What is known about the Moscow cruiser?

"The Moskva (formerly Slava) is a Soviet and Russian Project 1164 Atlant (NATO Slava class) missile cruiser, the lead ship of its series. It was built at the Mykolaiv shipyard and launched in 1979. After the anti-submarine cruiser Moskva of Project 1123 was decommissioned, it inherited its name and became the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.

The Moskva was designed to strike large surface ships, provide combat stability to shipboard anti-submarine groups, provide air defense for remote formations, and provide fire support for landing parties.

It took part in the wars in Georgia in 2008 and Syria in 2015, as well as in the blockade of Ukrainian ships during the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014.

In Ukraine, the Moskva became famous after approaching the Ukrainian border guards on the Snake Island on February 24, 2022, to attack them. The cruiser captain responded to a proposal to surrender with the words, "Russian warship, go f*** yourself."

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

How the Moskva missile cruiser was destroyed

On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, at approximately 18:52, the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine used the RK-360MC Neptune anti-ship complex to hit the cruiser. Two R-360 Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles hit the ship, which was about 80 nautical miles from Odesa and 50 miles from the border of Ukraine's territorial waters.

As a result, the cruiser capsized and sank in a little more than a day. On the evening of April 14, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged the loss of the ship.

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

However, Shoigu said that the Moskva allegedly sank "in a storm while being towed to the port due to hull damage caused by the detonation of ammunition during a fire."

The destroyed cruiser became Russia's most expensive combat loss during Putin's "special operation." According to Deutsche Welle, with an initial cost of about $2 billion, the residual value of the cruiser was $750 million. Ukraine has promoted the sunken cruiser to an underwater cultural heritage site under No. 2064.

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

Personnel losses on the cruiser

On April 22, the Ministry of Defense of the aggressor country stated that one crew member of the Moskva cruiser was killed in the fight for the ship's survival, 27 went missing, and 396 people were allegedly evacuated.

At the same time, on April 16, the agency published video footage that allegedly showed a meeting between the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, and the crew of the Moskva.

The number of sailors who participated in the meeting was not officially reported, but Reuters, after a rough count of the people in the video, estimated the number to be about a hundred. The video shows the commander of the Moskva, Anton Kuprin, together with the crew (according to media reports, he died on the sinking cruiser).

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

The uniqueness of the Moskva defeat operation

The flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which was considered unsinkable in Russia, could have been sunk thanks to an ingenious trick, the Daily Mail suggested. As it turned out, the cruiser's defense systems were "distracted" by two Bayraktar drones raised in the sky as a decoy and did not notice the approaching missiles. The British newspaper called the destruction of the Russian ship "one of the most sophisticated operations of the war."

In addition, the Russians' overconfidence contributed to the ship's destruction, which probably prevented them from activating their air defense systems. Even if they had, they would have had big problems with the Neptune missiles.

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

Damage to the ship's hull indicates that the hit resulted in the denotation of air defense ammunition, namely S-300 Fort, Osa SAM and AK-630 artillery systems.

In addition, nature itself helped the Ukrainian Armed Forces. "At the time of the invasion, we did not have any over-the-horizon radars, and Russia knew about it. But since the clouds were very low and the signal from this corridor between the water and the clouds had nowhere to go, the radar suddenly reached Moskva"  one of the Ukrainian missile engineers involved in the development of Neptune said.

Two years ago, AFU sent Moskva cruiser to the bottom of the Black Sea: how it happened

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