The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the sinking of the cruiser Moscow on Thursday. Russia claims that the ship sank while towing in a storm. Ukrainian forces reported earlier that they were hit by two Neptune missiles. The Ukrainian army has been using missile systems of this type, developed in Kyiv, since March 2021. They were first used in combat conditions in the war with Russia.
Ukrainian media wrote about the RK-360 Neptun system in March 2021. “This system is designed to defend Ukraine from the Seas of Azov and the Black Sea,” said Admiral Oleksiy Nezbaba, commander of the Ukrainian Navy.
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The introduction of Neptune into the Ukrainian army was in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which resulted in Kyiv losing most of its naval forces. Then the Ukrainian armed forces faced the need to rapidly strengthen the protection of the Black Sea coast.
According to the website of the Ukrainian weekly “Nowyj Czas”, the Neptun complex was developed in 2018 by the Kyiv design bureau Łucz. The advantage of this weapon is its versatility – these are the first Ukrainian missiles that can be launched from coastal missile groups, ships and aircraft.
According to the Ukrainian military portal mil.uin.ua, the RK-360 Neptun missile groups are a set of maneuverable anti-ship missiles designed to neutralize sea targets – cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes and also amphibious ships. as tanks and other military vehicles. The maximum range of the missiles is approximately 280 km. Missiles can travel at a speed of 900 km / h. In flight, they can descend to a height of 3-9 meters above the surface, which impedes the work of the enemy’s air defense systems.
The Neptune groups, which were delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in March 2021, were initially classified as training and combat units. In January, a month before the Russian invasion, tests of the serial launcher began.
Sinking of the Russian cruiser Moscow
And the Russian Ministry of Defense announced, on Thursday evening, that the cruiser Moscow sank while towing in a storm. Earlier, the Ukrainian military stated that the ship was hit by two missiles. And Moscow did not confirm this information, claiming that “there is a fire.” The US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) said that at the time of the explosion, the cruiser Moscow was about 100 km from the coast, that is, it was in the range of Ukrainian missiles. The United States neither confirmed nor denied that the Ukrainian attack was the cause of the damage to the ship.
The Moscow missile cruiser is one of the most important warships in Russia. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN that “this would have repercussions on” their (Russian) combat capabilities because the ship was a “key element in their efforts to establish their dominance in the Black Sea.”
“I don’t even know when a ship of this size was last sunk in a military confrontation,” he said, adding that he could not confirm the source of the fire aboard Moscow.
Losing a ballistic-missile-capable submarine or the Kuznetsov (Russia’s only aircraft carrier) would be an even bigger blow to Russian morale and the navy’s reputation in Russian society, CNN quoted retired US Navy Captain Carl Schuster as saying.
Main image source: Maxar / CNN
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