LONDON — The U.S. Defense Department reportedly revealed its conclusion on Friday that the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva sank after being struck by two Ukraine-launched missiles, while Britain’s defense ministry said the loss of the ship will likely force Moscow to change the way its naval forces operate in the Black Sea.
The reason for the Moskva’s sinking had been in dispute. Ukraine said it struck the vessel with missiles, while Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but not any attack.
The Pentagon assessment reportedly determined the missiles that stuck the Moskva were Ukrainian-manufactured Neptune missiles.
In an update posted Friday on social media, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said the Soviet-era ship, which returned to operational service last year after a major refit, “served a key role as both a command vessel and air defence node.”
It said the sinking “means Russia has now suffered damage to two key naval assets since invading Ukraine, the first being Russia’s Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on 24 March. Both events will likely lead Russia to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea.”