The loss was exceptionally embarrassing and costly for the Kremlin.
As Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine entered 62nd day, Western intelligence reports reveal enormous price his nation pays for this barbarous endeavour.
According to the United Kingdom Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, some 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the beginning of the invasion.
Withal, more than 2,000 Russian armoured vehicles have either been destroyed or captured. One loss was exceptionally embarrassing and costly for the Kremlin.
According to the Odessa governor Maksym Marchenko on April 13, the class cruiser Moskva was seriously damaged by missiles fired from the Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile system. Lithuanian defence minister Arvydas Anusauskas added that a Turkish ship that arrived immediately, after the cruiser sent out a distress signal, could only save 54 sailors before the cruiser that after explosion lay on its side and sunk. Both Turkey and Romania confirmed this fact.
The related loss of Russian personnel is still unknown, although there were 485 crew on board including 66 officers, stated Minister Anusauskas.
However, on the morning of April 14, quoting Russian Ministry of Defence, state media agency RIA Novosti falsely reported that a fire onboard Moskva led to the detonation of ammunition. The warship was seriously damaged, the spokesman claimed that the rescue operation was launched. Only early in the evening the Russians admitted that the ship sunk, but claimed deceitfully it was towed to the port.
What happened? It is still unclear how precisely the Ukrainian Defence Forces hit the Russian cruiser, but a few facts emphasising the significance of this outcome were established. According to multiple posts left by families of Russian sailors in the Russian equivalent of Facebook, three Russian warships accompanied Moskva when the cruiser was preparing for landing nearby Odessa. In addition, one mother reported that her son, the early-warning helicopter pilot, told her that he flew over Moskva. Her post accompanied a photo of Kamov anti-naval threat helicopter. Some of these details were later quickly removed, but they provide information that the ship was not left without protection.
Chinese propaganda usually does not dissent from the Russian narrative, but this time was different.
After one day silence, on April 15, Chinese media ignoring Moscow’s reports promoted specialists who discussed superior features of the Chinese warships.
After the speakers praised Liaoning based on the incomplete hull, originally designed for the Soviet Navy that Chinese tourism purchased in 1998 in Ukraine, it was obvious that incident with Moskva warship of Slava class, which in Russian means glory, increased China’s anxiety by illuminating the fact that the Liaoning aircraft carrier may be equally vulnerable.
Chinese experts who discussed the incident on Weibo noted that it appeared that the Russian ship air-defence system did not activate, neither the weather radar detected the threat. Others even pointed at the fact that Liaoning contains similar defence systems like Moskva, suggesting it might not fare any better than the Russian cruiser against anti-ship missiles.
For instance, they said that Liaoning like Moskva is equipped with three dimension air-surface search radar over the main mask, and four multifunctional active phased array radar panels. On its decks is the same Kamov helicopter that reportedly provided air-defence support for the sunk cruiser. Some specialists even doubted the quality of improvement of defence on two other carriers, since Russian engineers also contributed.
The independent social media, Chinese military channel suggested that the Chinese Communist Party lost confidence in the superiority of their carriers, and suggested that the military should rethink their overall Naval strategy. A user, who introduced himself only as a defence academy retired lecturer stated, that the critics of the modernisation, focused on the improvement of the post-Soviet military strategy were vindicated.
It is an open secret, that Taiwan not only closely observes the war but it improves its military drills with the experience of Ukrainian army.
Putin’s denial of Ukraine’s sovereignty and eventual invasion, has concerned Taiwanese government because Xi Jinping might follow in his footsteps and destroy Taiwan.
Last month, Taiwan's defence ministry working group to study the war decided to purchase more drones and the ground-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Reportedly, Taipei is also interested in the Ukrainian missiles.
Since the disaster, the Chinese military social media channels have speculated that Communist Party’s faith in the resilience of its fleet was shaken and Beijing will be forced to delay its invasion of Taiwan.
Chinese defence officials were shocked by how easily Ukrainians sunk Russian cruiser and feared the Liaoning could be similarly vulnerable in a military conflict, a strategists told Japanese newspaper.
Losing the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, Moskva, considered as the most powerful warship is embarrassing to Russia. According to Russian specialists, since 1989 Russia did not build even not one vessel that would match that Slava-class cruiser.
Moskva cruiser also provided political prestige for Russia, almost serving as a location for historic encounter of President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S.
President George H.W. Bush in Malta, that solidified the Perestroika transformation of Central and Eastern Europe. President Mr. Gorbachev chose the Moskva cruiser of the Glory class as its vessel that brought him together with delegation to U.S. Soviet talks.