Ukraine’s military celebrated last week a huge victory against the Russians when they sank the warship Moskva in the Black Sea using home-built missiles.
The Russian defense ministry has denied Kyiv’s claim and maintained that a fire broke out on the cruiser, leading to ammunition exploding and the ship ultimately sinking.
However, the Pentagon confirmed on Friday Kyiv’s account, assessing that the Ukrainian forces struck the warship with two Neptune missiles which led to the fire onboard the ship and it eventually sinking.
The sinking of the Russian warship marked a milestone for the Ukrainian’s resistance ever since Russia invaded in February 24.
The Pentagon said that the Moskva is a cruiser, which Russia only has three of its class. It’s a ship roughly 600 feet (183 meters) long with the capacity of carrying almost 500 sailors on board.
It was designed for air defense, and according to US defense officials was located approximately 65 nautical miles south of the port city of Odesa when it was struck by the Ukrainian Neptunes.
The warship had been a crucial instrument in Russia’s naval operations in the war against Ukraine, playing a central part in the siege of the port city of Mariupol.
The Neptune is a land-based cruise rocket system with anti-ship rockets, according to Ukrainian state-owned arms developer Luch.
“It is intended to defeat warships such as cruiser, destroyer frigate, corvette, airborne, tank landing ships and vehicles, which operate both independently and as part of the ship groups and amphibious groups, and coastal radiocontrast targets in visual and adverse meteorological conditions, at any time of the day and year, at active fire and electronic countermeasures of the enemy,” according to Luch’s documents.
The rocket system launches missiles loaded onto a truck on the ground, has a firing range of up to 300 kilometers and takes up to 15 minutes only to deploy a missile once a target is locked.
Each Neptune missile carries a 150 kilograms explosive warhead and weighs almost 870 kilograms.
The missiles then have a low flight altitude of three to ten meters above the wave crest on the final part of the trajectory, making them difficult to detect on radar.