What does the failure of the flagship missile cruiser Moskva mean?

Experts interviewed by RBC are confident that the failure of the cruiser will not affect the course of the special operation, but is an argument in favor of decommissioning the old Soviet large ships *

On April 14, at about 2 am (Moscow time), the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that on board the Moskva missile cruiser a fire broke out, as a result of which the ammunition detonated. “The ship was seriously damaged. The crew was completely evacuated. The causes of the fire are being established,»,— according to the message of the Ministry of Defense, which is quoted by TASS.

Cruiser «Moskva»— one of the three built ships of project 1164 “Atlant”. In addition to negon, the Russian Navy is armed with missile cruisers “Marshal Ustinov”. and “Varyag”. Three more cruisers were planned to be built — “October Revolution”, “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov” and “Komsomolets”. The construction of the first two was canceled in 1990, and the last one, in an unfinished state (by 95%), after the division of the Black Sea Fleet of the USSR, went to the Ukrainian Navy.

Whether Moscow will be restored, the RBC United Shipbuilding Corporation refused to comment.


Cruiser “Moskva” has not undergone a full-fledged modernization, unlike the Marshal Ustinov cruiser of the same type, which has been more seriously improved, said Ilya Kramnik, an employee of the Center for North American Studies of the IMEMO RAS, a specialist in the Navy.

“Moscow” underwent repairs with limited modernization, sometimes they say with elements of modernization, without having received a number of modern combat systems, and without having received modern fire extinguishing systems, according to a number of data. Perhaps this is one of the factors that influenced the ability of the crew to fight the fire,»,— the expert explained.

According to him, the exit of “Moscow” failure is unlikely to have an impact on the fighting in Ukraine, since the main fighting takes place on land. The ship was needed, first of all, in order to work as a radar, to provide information from this radar to the rest of the naval grouping: the cruiser had an outdated, but rather powerful radar system, Kramnik noted. If we assume that the fire was the result of enemy actions, then we have a reliably established fact that Ukraine receives intelligence information and target designations from NATO countries, the expert believes.

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At the request of Roskomnadzor, RBC provides data on the details of the military operation in Ukraine based on information from Russian official sources.

“After what happened, at a minimum, combat training programs should be reviewed. In the event that it is established that this is a cruise missile hit, then questions arise for the combat training of the air defense forces and for how adequately the cruiser was ready to repel the attack, — emphasized Kramnik, noting that the cruiser “Moskva” was one of the most armed in terms of air defense ships of the fleet— albeit not the newest weapon.

History of the cruiser Moskva

Guards missile cruiser «Moskva»— the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, commissioned in December 1982. Its displacement— 11.3 thousand tons. Main armament— 16 launchers of P-1000 Vulkan supersonic anti-ship missiles. There are also anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons, artillery, air defense systems. The crew of the cruiser, according to information on the website of the Ministry of Defense (publication date not specified), is 680 people, and according to RIA Novosti April 14— 500 people.

In 2008, the cruiser participated in operations in Georgia. In March 2014, the cruiser, together with other ships of the Black Sea Fleet, participated in the blockade of the Ukrainian Navy in the Donuzlav Bay. In 2015, he provided cover for the aviation group of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria.

In February 2022, during the Russian operation in Ukraine, the Moskva cruiser participated in taking control of Serpent's Island.

“As part of the special operation of the Russian Armed Forces conducted in Ukraine, in the area of ​​​​Snake Island, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the guards missile cruiser Moskva, carried out tasks. and other ships of the fleet. On February 24, the Ukrainian servicemen stationed on the island were asked to surrender… After that, the servicemen from Zmeiny Island decided to lay down their arms. However, soon all 82 people were delivered alive and unharmed to Sevastopol, RIA Novosti reported.

“Moscow” in theory— this is a powerful ship, but in reality it was hopelessly, long and deeply outdated and had extremely weak short-range air defense and problems with the air defense system in general, says Vasily Kashin, director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, RIAC expert Vasily Kashin.

The cruiser did not take a serious part in the special operation, since it was impossible to fire at ground targets with its cruise missiles, says Kashin.

“Three cruisers of project 1164” “Moscow”, “Marshal Ustinov” and «Varyag»— were a kind of white elephants that Russia could send to participate in international exercises to ensure a permanent presence off the coast of Syria. Since they had great autonomy, they looked impressive,— the expert notes.

«According to the cruiser «Moskva» long before the special operation, the issue of his “sending to pins and needles” was resolved. Therefore, if the crew was saved, then the loss of this ship— this is a loss only from the point of view of prestige, in practice for Russia it changes little, — considers Kashin.

The incident with «Moscow»— this is a strong argument in favor of the accelerated decommissioning of old Soviet large ships, the expert is sure. First of all, we are talking about “Admiral Kuznetsov” and the remaining two cruisers of project 1164, as well as large anti-submarine ships of project 1155, emphasizes Kashin. “It is still possible to use heavy nuclear missile cruisers of Project 1144 with their deep modernization, but the rest must be disposed of,” — concluded the expert.

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