Neptune: Missiles that hit the Russian carrier Moscow

When the main ship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, was badly damaged earlier this week, Ukraine immediately claimed it had struck it with two missiles, and Russia denied this, blaming the damage on a fire where ammunition on board was stored. . While being towed into port, the Moskva sank, having become destabilized in stormy conditions due to hull damage, Russia’s Defense Ministry told Russia’s state news agency Tass.

On Friday, a senior US defense official confirmed that the Russian cruiser had been hit by two Neptune anti-ship missiles fired by Ukraine from a land launcher. The Ukrainian-made Neptune can also be launched from a ship or from the air.

US military equipment worldwide guidelines describe the Neptune as an anti-ship cruise missile with a maximum firing range of 280 kilometers, or about 174 miles. The Russian ship, about 600 feet long, is about 60 kilometers or about 37 miles south of Odesa, which is within range of Neptune, a separate defense official said.

According to the second official, the ship generally had nearly 500 sailors on board. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN Thursday that several crew members were evacuated. “I don’t know how many got off. We did see indications there were lifeboats and some sailors got off the ship,” he said. It is not known how many victims there are.

Neptune has been in service with the Ukrainian Navy since March 2021, according to the US Army.

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Military-today.com, a site that tracks military equipment, describes Neptune as the Ukrainian version of Russia’s Kh-35 anti-ship cruise missile, differing in that it is longer and has more fuel and a larger booster. The site says it was developed by the Luch Design Bureau, a Ukrainian defense contractor. The Luch Design Bureau’s description of Neptune says, “It is intended to defeat warships such as cruisers, destroyers, corvettes, airborne, landing craft tanks and vehicles.”

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