Western officials say Ukrainian claims to have hit the Russian cruiser, the Moskva, with their own domestically developed Neptune missile are “credible.”
According to the BBC, one official said the loss of the Moskva, if confirmed, was a “massive blow” to Russian military credibility, regardless of how it happened.
He said he was not aware of another case, involving a capital ship, in which a fire had led to the explosion of the ammunition magazine – something Russia has claimed. This, the official said, would represent “remarkably inept” control by crew – and it was hard to believe that this was how the incident occurred.
The official added that the loss of the Moskva would have “a significant impact” on Russian maritime operations.
As flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva was providing vital command and control functions for the rest of the fleet. This would now be harder – but not impossible – for Russia to achieve.
But if this is proven to have been a successful Ukrainian strike, he said it suggested the fleet’s air defences were vulnerable.