LVIV, Ukraine (Fwrd Axis) — Ukraine is taking credit for a massive explosion that resulted in the sinking of a Russian warship on Thursday but Moscow differs on the exact cause, which is a major blow to the Russian efforts and President Vladimir Putin’s war in the country.
Ukrainian defense officials said their forces struck the Moskva with two missiles in the Black Sea, resulting in the ship sinking. However, the Russian military has insisted it was towing the Moskva to port due to choppy waters and not because it was struck by missiles.
“Due to damage to the hull received during the fire caused by the detonation of ammunition, the ship lost stability,” the ministry said in a statement. “The ship sank in a stormy sea.”
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. had confirmed an explosion on the vessel, but it was unable to confirm what had caused it.
A western official called the sinking of Moskva “an entirely legitimate target”.
“We’re not in a position to officially confirm independently what exactly led to the ship’s now sinking,” Kirby told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “But we’re also not in any position to refute the Ukrainian side of this. It’s certainly plausible and possible that they did in fact hit this with a Neptune missile or maybe more.”
The Russian warship had been armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles as well as torpedoes and naval guns and close-in missile defense systems.
In late March, Ukraine said a missile strike had destroyed a Russian landing ship at the port of Berdiansk.