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All about Neptune cruise missile that severely damaged Russian warship ‘Moskva’

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Kyviv: Ukraine alleged in a Telegram message late Wednesday that a missile attack off the coast of Odessa badly damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet Flagship ‘Moskva.’

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The explosives aboard the ship were caused by an onboard munitions fire, according to the Russians, but the Ukrainians said it was a premeditated hit employing the Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles. We investigate the Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles and how they engage a target.

What kind of cruise missile did hit the Moskva?

Two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles were fired at the Moskva. Ironically, this missile’s design is based on the Russian Kh-35 cruise missile, which is known in NATO as the AS-20 Kayak.

According to the Ukrainians, the Neptune Missile system was integrated into the Ukrainian Defense Forces in March 2021 following a six-year development period. The cruise missile was created in a hurry by the military as the Russian danger to Ukraine’s coastal territories grew significantly following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The Neptune is a coastal anti-ship cruise missile capable of destroying naval vessels at a range of 300 kilometres, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

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The Ukrainian Defense Minister was cited during the induction ceremony as saying that Neptune will be merged with missile boats, patrol vessels, and corvettes to form an integrated defence system capable of dealing with any maritime attack.

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What is the name of the missile-that hit ‘Moskva’?

Moskva is a Russian Navy guided missile cruiser named after the city of Moscow. It can carry a total of 12,490 tonnes. It is the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet and has a crew of roughly 500 people. The Moskva was first commissioned in 1983 as the Slava. The Moskva was recommissioned in 2000 with upgraded armament systems and electronics. It made news during the Ukrainian conflict when allegations surfaced that it had urged Ukrainian forces on Snake Island to surrender, only to be told, “Russian warship, go f*** yourselves.”

How was the attack on Wednesday carried out?

According to initial accounts, the Neptune cruise missile strike was carried out with the use of TB-2 drones as decoys, as well as additional steps aimed at saturating the cruiser’s Air Defense systems. As a result of the confusion, the cruise missiles were able to get past the ship’s defences.

The Ukrainians claimed to have targeted Russian naval boats in the Black Sea before, but none appear to have been as large or suffered as much damage as the Moskva.

What was the severity of the damage?

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Moskva is said to have flipped onto its side after being hit by cruise missiles and is on the verge of sinking, according to unsubstantiated sources. These are Ukrainian reports, and the Russian Navy has not verified them. Unconfirmed images of a ship on fire, allegedly from Moskva, have also surfaced. Every hour, new stories emerge, with many claiming that the ship has already sunk. For the time being, the Russians have simply admitted that the ship has been damaged.

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