Ukraine says it hit the Moskva with anti-ship cruise missiles, which sparked a fire that detonated stored ammunition. The Moskva was armed with a range of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles as well as torpedoes, naval guns and missile defense systems, meaning it would have had massive amounts of explosives aboard.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, however, says a fire of unknown origin detonated the ammunition and the resulting explosions left the Moskva with structural damage. It says the warship then sank amid rough seas as it was being towed to a nearby port.
Whatever the cause, the Moskva’s sinking constitutes a major military embarrassment for Russia, as it was the biggest wartime loss of a naval ship in 40 years. The Moskva was one of the Russian Navy’s most visible assets in the Ukraine war and its loss could impact the morale of Russian troops.