Flagship of Black Sea fleet damaged in blast

Moscow: Russia on Thursday said the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, the Moskva missile cruiser, was badly damaged in a blast, the country’s Defence Ministry said.

“A fire onboard the Moskva missile cruiser caused a blast of the broadside munitions. The ship received serious damage. The crew was evacuated,” the ministry said in a statement.

However, the cause of the fire was not elaborated, but said investigation is underway, Xinhua reported citing Tass news agency.

Russian state media blamed the blaze for an accidental ammunition explosion.

The ministry’s confirmation of the blast came hours after multiple Ukrainian government officials claimed that anti-ship guided missiles, hidden in or around the coast of Odessa, scored two hits on Moskva.

The 12,500-tonne cruiser, the most essential ship in Russia’s Black Sea fleet, was officially commissioned in 1983 and armed with 16 anti-ship “Vulkan” cruise missiles.

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