Can the Russians replace “Moscow” in the Black Sea? Turkey is in control

Followers are trying to understand what Moscow means by the loss of the most prominent ship in the Russian navy, especially in light of the inability of the Russians to compensate for it in the Black Sea.

Although Russia has confirmed that the “Moskva” ship sank while being towed to port, saying it was a fire and explosion that affected the ammunition on board, Kyiv has confirmed that the ship was opened as a result of a missile attack by its forces off the coast. The hull of a huge Soviet-era ship, and then it sank. .

On Friday, a senior Pentagon official speaking to reporters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Ukrainians had targeted the ship and said: “Our assessment is that they hit with two Neptune missiles.”

U.S. military officials have called the sinking of a Russian ship a “major blow” to Moscow.

To find out how much Russian forces suffered as a result of the sinking of “Moscow”, the Reuters news agency produced a report on the capabilities that Russia may lose during the war against Ukraine.

The report includes answers to eight key questions in order to give a clear idea of ​​the impact of the sinking of the “old” Russian cruiser.

Reuters says that although Russia has a strong air defense system deployed in Crimea, which it confiscated from Ukraine in 2014, only “Moscow” was able to provide long-range air defense protection for the entire Black Sea Fleet and was the center of floating command. And control.

The report said that the loss of this huge cruiser would “lead to the deterioration of the fleet’s air defenses, especially in the long run.”

What happened to the crew?

Russia says it has successfully evacuated a crew of about 500 sailors to another ship before returning home from the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Friday.

Although Ukraine has indicated that there could be casualties, Moscow has not yet commented.

Will the course of the conflict in Ukraine change?

That is unlikely, the Reuters report said, but the British Ministry of Defense said the damage would “persuade Russia to reconsider its naval position in the Black Sea.”

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the sinking would have a symbolic effect and would potentially raise questions about Russia’s long-term naval capabilities, but would not have a significant impact on the conflict.

As a reminder, the Russian navy has not yet played a major role in the war declared by Moscow against Kiev since February 24.

A U.S. official says Russia has used its warships in limited quantities to carry out occasional strikes and to supply troops to the south.

Russia maintains naval dominance in the vicinity of Ukraine, and Moscow is ready to destroy “enemy” ships at sea, when there is little left of the Ukrainian navy.

Will the Russian navy change the way it operates?

“Yes, it will happen,” the Reuters report stressed, but the change was not seen as significant.

After the fire broke out in Moscow, about five Russian warships sailed about 80 nautical miles off the coast to the northern part of the Black Sea.

U.S. officials believe those ships could still attack Ukraine from that distance, and it is unlikely that Ukrainian forces will be able to attack them while off the coast.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, says the Ukrainian military’s ability to attack Russian warships in the Black Sea could force the Russian navy to deploy additional air defense and other defense equipment.

Will Russian strategy change near the coast?

Some analysts say Moscow could provide significant support for any Russian amphibious landing operation in the Ukrainian port of Odessa “but this has not yet happened due to resistance from Ukrainian forces” and it is unlikely that Russian forces will do anything now. Landing after the cruiser sank.

Can Moskva be replaced?

The Reuters report answers this question in the negative, as Russia owns only two ships of the same class, the “Marshal Ustinov” and the “Varyag”, which operate with the Russian North and Pacific Fleet, respectively.

Russian missile launcher “Moscow” … more than just a warship

The “Moscow”, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, was severely damaged during the conflict in Ukraine and is more than just a warship. In addition to military importance, it has a presence in Russian diplomacy.

A Pentagon official explained that Turkey, under the Montreux Convention, “prevents the warship from entering the Black Sea and that they (the Russians) will not be able to replace the warship with the Slava-class.”

Ankara controls access to the Black Sea through the Montreux Treaty signed in 1936, which guarantees freedom of navigation for merchant ships in peacetime and gives warships the right to prevent warships from crossing the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Strait, especially if Turkey itself is under threat. Comes back.

U.S. officials considered that the sinking of the Russian cruiser could make the Russian navy more vigilant and reduce their involvement in Ukrainian territory.

Was Moskva equipped with unique weapons?

According to Reuters, the ship was not equipped with unique weapons, but only anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, and was not equipped with the latest generation of Russian Caliber cruise missiles or hypersonic missiles, for example.

Was the ship modern?

The cruiser was designed in the 1970s, during the Soviet era, during the Cold War.

It was designed to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers and has been in service for nearly four decades.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the cruiser underwent a major overhaul, but did not return to operation until 2021.

Despite this reform, some of its devices remain obsolete.

What about Russian power after the sinking of “Moscow”?

“There is no doubt that this is a bitter loss for the Russian military,” the report said, because the ship was a symbol of the Crimean Black Sea Fleet and Russian military pride despite its “old age”.

And if the cause of the sinking proves to be Ukraine’s anti-ship missile attack, it will be the largest Russian warship to sink during its operation since 1941.

That year, German dive bombers damaged the Soviet warship “Marat” in the port of Kronstadt.

An assessment prepared by the Institute for the Study of War in Washington says Ukraine’s drowning by a missile attack or burning incident is “a major propaganda victory for Ukraine.”

Western diplomats and experts are hoping that senior Black Sea Fleet officials will lose their jobs as a result of the sinking.

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