Horror as Putins doomed Russian navy warship was carrying nukes before being destroyed

Ukraine: Russia's Black Sea Moskva flagship sinks

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BlackSeaNews editor-in-chief Andriy Klymenko claimed the Russian warship had been carrying several nuclear weapons when it was hit by Ukrainian missiles fired from the coast. This would be a devastating blow to the Russian President, already dealing with one of the heaviest blows yet to Moscow’s war effort after Kyiv provided a stunning symbol of its resistance against a better-armed foe when it attacked Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea jewel.

Mr Klymenko said: “Friends and experts say that there are two nuclear warheads for cruise missiles on board the Moskva.

“Perhaps for many this is new information, but it is true – the warship is a carrier of nuclear weapons.”

The reports have not been confirmed.

Meanwhile, Mykhailo Samus, deputy director of the Lviv-based Centre for Army Studies, Conversion and Disarmament, warned the nuclear weapons may not have been damaged by the explosion.

He said: “On board the Moskva could be nuclear warheads – two units.

“They would be in a protected place, so most likely they were not damaged by the explosion.”

Russia did not confirm the attack but said the ship sank while being towed in stormy seas after a fire caused by an explosion of ammunition. Moscow said more than 500 sailors had been evacuated. There was no independent confirmation of the fate of the crew.

Although Russia did not acknowledge that Ukrainian missiles had hit the ship, early on Friday it struck what it described as a factory in Kyiv that made and repaired anti-ship missiles, in apparent retaliation.

The Moskva was by far Russia’s largest vessel in the Black Sea fleet, equipped with guided missiles to attack the shore and shoot down planes, and radar to provide air defence cover for the fleet.

On the first day of the war, February 24, the ship ordered Ukrainian defenders of an island outpost to surrender and they radioed back an obscenity, an event marked on a postage stamp that Kyiv released hours before saying it had struck it.

In an overnight address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky partially quoted that epithet, paying homage to “those who showed that Russian ships can go — only down to the bottom.”

Russia has used its naval power to blockade Ukrainian ports and threaten a potential amphibious landing along the coast.Without its flagship, its ability to menace Ukraine from the sea could be crippled.

Michael Kofman, an expert on Russia’s military, who called it a “major loss for the Russian navy”, tweeting: “If reports of Moskva’s sinking prove true it will be emblematic of Russia’s overall military effort thus far”.

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No warship of such size has been sunk during conflict since Argentina’s General Belgrano was torpedoed by the British in the 1982 Falklands war.

Kyiv was hit on Friday by some of the most powerful explosions heard since Russian forces withdrew from the area two weeks ago. Moscow said it had struck a plant in the capital that made and repaired Ukrainian missiles, including anti-ship missiles.

The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement: “The number and scale of missile strikes on targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage on Russian territory committed by the Kyiv nationalist regime.”

Russia pulled its troops out of northern Ukraine this month after a huge armoured assault on Kyiv was repelled at the outskirts of the capital.

Moscow now says its main war aim is capturing the Donbas, an eastern region of two provinces that are already partly held by Russian-backed separatists and that Russia wants Kyiv to cede.

It has sent a new column of thousands of troops into the east for what Ukraine anticipates will be a major assault.

Moscow says it hopes to seize all of Mariupol soon, which would be the only big city it has captured so far.

The Black Sea port, home to 400,000 people before the war, has been reduced to rubble by seven weeks of siege and bombardment, with tens of thousands of people trapped inside.

Thousands of civilians have died there.

Russia initially described its aims in Ukraine as disarming its neighbour and defeating nationalists there.

Kyiv and its Western allies say those are bogus justifications for an unprovoked war of aggression that has driven a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes.

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