Ukraine update: Goodbye to Moscow

Ukraine update: Goodbye to Moscow

No matter what “tankie” Twitter has to say, the U.S. Department of Defense has now confirmed that the Russian missile cruiser Moskva (“Moscow”) sank after being struck by Neptune missiles fired by Ukrainian coastal defense. Honestly, the U.S. was very likely aware of this from before the moment when the missiles struck home, because even if Ukraine controlled the Bayraktar drone that distracted the Moskva’s single radar, someone with very sophisticated equipment (like *cough* a U.S. AWACS plane *cough*) had to inform Ukraine that the Russians were genuinely directing their attention at the drone. So the whole gee, we’re not sure, could of been … yes, yes, seems like it was Ukraine act from the U.S. side was a bit of theater. 

With a displacement of over 12,000 tons and a length greater than two football fields, the Moskva was a large ship. In fact, it may be the largest ship to go down in war since World War II. Argentina lost the light cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands War in 1982, but even though that ship carried a crew twice the size of the Moskva, it was actually about 3,000 tons lighter and just a smidge shorter. 

And there’s another way that the Moskva may be a larger loss.

Small remembrance ceremony held in Sevastopol yesterday for loss of cruiser RFS Moskva. Not confirmed officilay but ex-Russian MP says only 58 survivors out of her crew of around 500 indicating catastrophic explosion/fire.

— Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) April 16, 2022

Russian ministry of Defense: commander of Navy admiral Nikolay Evmenov and command of Black Sea navy met with crew of Moskva cruiser in Sevastopol. Video shows about 50 sailor in first row, and some sailors in the 2nd row (max: 50)

— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) April 16, 2022

The Moskva carried a complement of 510, including officers. If 58 is an accurate count of survivors, then 452 men went down with the flagship of the Black Sea fleet. That Argentine ship in 1982 had a crew of 1,138 when a British submarine scored a direct hit with three torpedoes. Over 250 were killed in the resulting explosions. However, as the ship began to list, the captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. Life rafts were deployed and, despite increasingly bad weather, rescue vessels later pulled 772 men out of the water. Total losses were 323 killed.

Whatever happened with the Moskva under cloud cover on the Black Sea, it does not seem to have been an orderly evacuation. The loss of crew also seems to be largest recorded since World War II.

At this point, Ukraine estimates that 20,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. Oryx records over 2,900 large piece of equipment destroyed, including over 500 tanks. Not only has Russia lost the flagship of the Black Sea fleet, it earlier lost the 370’ long, 3,400 ton landing ship Saratov. At least two other large ships have withdrawn from the fight after being damaged in the same attack that set the Saratov on fire, resulting in its sinking.

Most of what is being spread around Russian television is ridiculous, even as propaganda. But those claims that this is already World War III? Measured on a scale of the losses Russia is racking up, they may be right.

Saturday, Apr 16, 2022 · 8:18:34 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

Russia has captured one of the large factory complexes in Mariupol, and it’s now clear that there was at least some truth to accounts that Ukrainian forces in the city had access to underground passages where they could move and rest without being shelled by Russia.

Now captured Ilyich factory in Mariupol, and a garage with many Ukrainian vehicles (Russian footage)

— Dmitri 🇺🇦 (@mdmitri91) April 16, 2022

Saturday, Apr 16, 2022 · 8:24:15 PM +00:00


Oh fun!

FSB arrests the commander of the 🇷🇺 Black Sea fleet vice admiral Igor Ossipov. Obviously for the bad weather and an accidental fire on board of Moskva. 8th general out of commission by 🇺🇦 action in this war.

— Eerik N Kross (@EerikNKross) April 16, 2022

Saturday, Apr 16, 2022 · 8:27:12 PM +00:00


Apparently, Russia didn’t think having a centralized fire-detection system was worth having on a warship. 

A thread on Russian Navy firefighting capabilities. A friend of mine pointed out an article (in Russian) from November 2018 that had been getting some attention recently. /1

— Ryan C (@LIM49Spartan) April 16, 2022

Saturday, Apr 16, 2022 · 8:28:40 PM +00:00


Kazakhstan has now explained that the May 9 parade is not feasible because the priority is to maintain combat readiness of the armed forces to ensure protection and defense of gov and military facilities. Hands down, this is bold.

— Erica Marat (@EricaMarat) April 15, 2022

Apparently, when you openly state that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was “illegal” and that none of the newly independent states are legitimate and have a right to exist, those former USSR republics get a little skittish. 

Saturday, Apr 16, 2022 · 8:41:05 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

Russia’s Uralvogonzavod shuts down production. It will no longer be able to assemble any of T-72 tank (main RU tank) or newer T-90 & T-14 tanks (Armata). Reason: lack of imported components. It means more saved UA lives, is direct result of Western sanctions which should continue

— Margo Gontar (@MargoGontar) April 16, 2022

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