Russia's loss of its Black Sea flagship Moskva is a 'massive blow,' and maybe also 'poetic justice'

Russian warship Moskva
(Image credit: Burak Akay/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian and Ukraine agree that the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, its Black Sea flagship, was taken out of commission on Wednesday, but there's no agreement on how that happened. Russian state-run media, citing the Defense Ministry, said "ammunition detonated as a result of a fire on the Moskva missile cruiser," the ship "was seriously damaged," and "the entire crew" of 510 was evacuated. Hours earlier, the governor of Odessa said Ukraine had hit the ship with Neptune anti-ship missiles and inflicted "very serious damage."

Either way, "one of the Russian Navy's most important warships is either floating abandoned or at the bottom of the Black Sea, a massive blow to a military struggling against Ukrainian resistance 50 days into Vladimir Putin's invasion of his neighbor," CNN reports. And "whatever the reason for the fire, the analysts say it strikes hard at the heart of the Russian navy as well as national pride, comparable to the U.S. Navy losing a battleship during World War II or an aircraft carrier today."

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