On 14 April 2022, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet “Moskva” sank in after it was hit by two Ukrainian R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles.
About a hundred kilometers off the southwest Ukrainian coast, the Russian Navy suffered an embarrassing defeat when the 12,000-ton Moskva, flagship of its Black Sea fleet, was hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles. Russia denied this and said the explosions and fires on the Moskva were the result of an accident on the ship that damage-control efforts by the 500-man crew were unable to handle, leading to major ammunition explosions.
Moskva was directing operations off the Ukrainian port of Odessa at the time. As the flagship of the Black Sea fleet Moskva had senior officers and their staffs on board to plan and direct Russian efforts to attack Ukrainian ports, especially Odessa, and turn Ukraine into a landlocked nation.
Russia later admitted Moskva sank while being towed back to its home port in the nearby Crimean Peninsula. Russia will not admit Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles because the Moskva had multiple defenses against such attacks. Apparently Ukraine used one or more of their Turkish TB2 UAVs to track and harass Moskva and that enabled the two Neptune missiles to get through and start the fires that the crew could not handle and led to the abandon ship order. Ukraine may also have used ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) on Moskva to enable the missile strike.
Russia is trying to blame the loss of the ship on massive crew incompetence rather than admit the ship was hit by two Ukrainian missiles. To do so would also include crew incompetence; as in not turning on all the anti-missile defenses because they were distracted by the Ukrainian UAVs. It might also indicate that the missile defenses are inadequate. With the ship at the bottom of the Black Sea, the crew will have to explain what happened and why.
The Neptune is an upgrade of the Russian Kh-35 anti-ship missile. Ukraine played a major role in designing and supplying components for the Kh-35. That was because work on Kh-35, the Russian answer to missiles like the American Harpoon, began in the 1980s, when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union and a major component of the massive Soviet weapons defense design and manufacturing industries. After the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, independent Ukraine continued doing business with Russia and Kh-35 development was completed in 1996. The Russian Navy procurement budget was so small that Russia could not afford to buy Kh-35s until 2003, Meanwhile, Kh-35 was popular with export customers, who still account for most of the Kh-35s produced in Russia.