The sinking of Russia’s Moskva cruiser dealt a major blow to the Kremlin navy in the Black Sea and gave the Ukrainian forces a major communications victory.
The warship, which sank on Thursday after Ukrainian and U.S. officials said it had been hit and exploded by two Neptune missiles, was Russia’s navy’s flagship and one of the most visible weapons of its attack on Ukraine.
Significance did not go unnoticed by Ukrainians who quickly began to use the incident in videos and pictures posted on social media. But experts are divided over whether the sinking of the ship will change the tide of war.
“If they start to lose their navy during this war, the impact of their long-term strategy will be huge before the war is over,” said retired Brick. General Kevin Ryan, a former U.S. defense coordinator for Russia, is now a senior colleague at the Belfer Center at Harvard University.
Ryan noted that the Russian navy has operated about 12 to 24 ships in the Black Sea since the beginning of the invasion, 11 of which are the same size as Moscow. He said the loss of even one of those ships would reduce Moscow’s naval power in the Black Sea by about 10 percent.
Ryan said it would not be possible for Russia to quickly replace Moscow, which can carry up to 500 sailors, because “it will take them a long time to repair and refurbish the ships.” “They’re so bad.”
Meanwhile, at the Institute for War Studies, analysts see the incident as a “major propaganda victory for Ukraine”, which could affect Russian morale but not make a big difference in the conflict.
Analysts Mason Clark, Katarina Stepanenko and George Barros say the sinking “is unlikely to face a decisive blow to Russian operations as a whole” because Russia used its Black Sea Fleet air defense coverage and the ship to avoid hitting Ukrainian land targets. Wrote at their daily war conference.
But they noted that the Ukrainian strike could change Russian operating systems at sea, and that they would be forced to deploy more ships to the region or pull their ships from positions closer to the Ukrainian coast.
The United States has already seen such maneuvers, a senior security official told reporters Thursday, adding that other Russian ships in the northern Black Sea have been moving further south since the eruption.
It is difficult to determine whether Moscow will be a turning point as the Russian navy has so far used less of its warships for attacks on Ukrainian targets, rather than using mainly aircraft and ground-based systems for such attacks.
Moscow’s naval component of the war has largely been limited to two attempts: replenishing and re-deploying troops in the south and some naval missile strikes on Ukraine, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
“Moscow’s main mission was to provide air defense for Russian forces in the Black Sea.”
“It is not clear now whether this will have an impact on their naval capabilities in the long run,” Kirby added.
However, it is clear that sinking is important.
After the 1982 Falklands War, Argentine Crusader General Belgrano was the first major surface warfare Moscow to be submerged by enemy action in 40 years after being sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine torpedo.
Thanks to its importance at the beginning of the invasion, it was already a widely known ship that was only told the “f-” when it was told to surrender Ukrainian troops on Snake Island. This moment was widely shared as a rally and rally of the Ukrainian opposition.
Ukrainian officials have already begun mocking the sinking on social media, according to Oleksi Arrestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky on Thursday. Tweets a video He said it depicted the point where Moscow was hit by missiles from Ukraine.
“The Russian Navy’s flagship, Moscow, carried out a negative surface operation on the island, where it told itself to go. Where is Moscow? It sank,” he said.
The district’s defense minister tweeted Friday that the ship is now a “qualified diving site”.
“A ‘primary’ Russian warship is a worthy diving site. There is still a diving spot in the Black Sea. We will definitely visit the wreckage after we win the war. [By the way]I already have 300 scuba dives, ”said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Resnikov. Tweeted With a photo of him scuba diving at sea.
According to Clark, Stefanenko and Barros, the shipwreck could also affect Russia’s morale and raise new suspicions about Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.
“The Kremlin will rather fight to explain the loss of one of the most important ships of the Russian Navy,” they wrote. “Both interpretations of the sinking of the Mosque point to possible Russian shortcomings – poor air defense or incredibly loose defense procedures and the primary damage control of the Black Sea Navy.”
But it could also trigger an increase in the Kremlin’s attacks on Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry warned on Friday that it would intensify strikes in retaliation for the attack on Moscow’s property – even as it continued to deny that the ship had been successfully attacked.