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Russian Navy Flagship In Sevastopol

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Russian Navy's guided missile cruiser Moskva (Moscow) behind a wave breaker and an embankment, as it sails back into a harbour after tracking NATO warships in the Black Sea, in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak/File Photo

Russian Navy Flagship Is A Symbol Of Ukrainian Defiance

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April 14, 2022

By Aliaksandr Kudrytski (Bloomberg) The flagship Russian missile cruiser badly damaged off the coast of Ukraine late on Wednesday has been one of the most recognizable symbols of Ukrainian resistance since the war broke out.

The Moskva gained notoriety on Feb. 24, the day Russia kicked off its invasion when it was one of two ships that confronted a small contingent of Ukrainian guards on the tiny Black Sea outpost known as Snake Island. In an account that swiftly entered the Ukrainian war lexicon, the guards reportedly shouted at the ships to leave when ordered to surrender. An audio recording of the exchange went viral, causing a torrent of patriotic memes. 

The incident also made it onto a stamp that went into formal issuance this week and was lauded by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Instagram a day before reports emerged that the Moskva, named after the Russian capital, was now in trouble. 

“We call for entries for the next target,” Ukraine’s postal service said on Twitter, posting an image of the stamp showing a Ukrainian soldier facing a hostile military vessel with a defiant gesture. 

Ukrainian officials said the Moskva was the same ship involved in the Snake Island incident. 

Maksym Marchenko, who is governor of the Odesa region on the Black Sea coast, said on his Telegram account the warship had been “seriously damaged” after a strike late Wednesday by anti-ship missiles.

Russia’s Defense Ministry was quoted by Interfax as saying ammunition had detonated on the Moskva during a fire and the crew was evacuated. It later said the ship was afloat and would be towed to port, and that the reason for the fire was still being investigated.

Whatever the cause, it’s a blow both to Russia’s war effort and its prestige, following on the heels of failed attempts to encircle the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pulled his troops back from Ukraine’s north and diverted them to the east, with leaders in Europe and the U.S. warning a major offensive could soon be launched to try and take control of the Donbas region. Nations in the European Union and the U.S. are rushing more military equipment to Ukraine. 

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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