WASHINGTON — Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit Russia’s flagship Moskva in the Black Sea, a senior Defense official said on Friday, providing the first American confirmation that the sinking of the Russian cruiser was the result of a Ukrainian strike.
Moscow had said the ship sank in stormy seas after an accidental fire caused an explosion.
The official said that American intelligence assessments say there were a number of casualties as the ship was struck but could not provide a specific number. He said that there were also some Russian sailors who survived and were seen being picked up by lifeboats.
The ship was struck about 65 nautical miles south of Odesa and moved under her own power for some time after the initial strikes, before eventually sinking on Thursday. As the only Russian cruiser of that class in the Black Sea, Moskva’s sinking is a significant blow to Russia’s war plans, the official said.
“She had cruise missiles on that ship that are now at the bottom of the Black Sea,” the official said.