A famous Russian warship cursed by Ukrainian border guards has been badly damaged, with the two countries’ military offering conflicting explanations.
The Russian military said on Tuesday that the naval cruiser Moskva had been evacuated in response to an explosion. However, Ukrainian officials said its military collided with the cruiser made famous after border guards told the crew of the Russian warship to “fuck you”. Disparate explanations are another example of the two sides offering different accounts in a conflict that has been clouded by misinformation.
A fire detonated ammunition on Moskva, forcing her entire crew to flee the cruiser, the Russian the TASS news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the country’s defense ministry. The outlet said the vessel was “severely damaged” and the fire was under investigation. RIA Novosti, a government-backed Russian media outlet, offered a similar account.
The report contrasts with those given by Ukrainian officials.
“The Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship,” Maksym Marchenko, head of Ukraine’s regional administration in Odessa, said on Telegram. “Glory to Ukraine!”
Marchenko said a Neptune missile was fired by Ukrainian forces off the Black Sea coast, skewering the cruiser, whose name translates to “Moscow”.
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, also said on Telegram that the ship nearly sank after being hit by the missile.
A successful missile strike against Moskva, flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, would be a significant victory for the Ukrainian military.
Moskva is a Soviet-era ship that serves as the lead ship of Project 1164 Atlant and was originally launched in 1983 as Glory. According to state media, the main armament of the ship is an 16 P-1000 Vulkan missile launcher.
The ship played a key role in Russian military operations in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015, the Moskva was sent as part of four ships to waters near Syria to take part in military exercises. Last year, the ship launched a missile cruiser as a warning to NATO, which was conducting exercises in the area.
After Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, a group of 13 Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island refused to surrender, telling Moskva to “fuck you”.
The now-viral moment was touted as a symbol of Ukraine’s refusal to give in to Russia’s biggest military. It is believed that the border guards died during the confrontation with the Moskva. But it was later discovered that they survived being captured and were returned to Ukraine in a prison swap.
Newsweek contacted the Pentagon for comment.