Russia invades Ukraine, the country is preparing for the Great Donbass offensive

Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva sails back to the port of Sevastopol in Crimea on November 16, 2021 (Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters)

Russians Moskva guided missile cruiser It is located in the depths of the Black Sea today.

Ukraine claims to have hit Moskva with missiles, causing it to sank. Russia insisted that the cause of the sinking was a fire. On Friday, the United States backed the Ukrainian account, with a senior defense official saying it believed two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Russian warship in the Black Sea.

But what does Moskva’s loss mean for the Russian war effort?

The biggest impact may be on Russian morale. As the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Moskva was one of the most visible assets in the Ukraine war. Although Moscow carefully manages the news of the war in Russia, it would be difficult to hide the sudden absence of such a large ship.

And her loss would raise doubts about Russia’s combat capabilities, whether it was due to enemy action or an accident.

“Both explanations for the Moskva sinking point to potential Russian shortcomings – either weak air defenses or incredibly lax safety and damage control measures on the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship,” say analysts Mason Clark, Katrina Stepanenko and George Barros at the study institute. Books from the War in the Daily War Brief.

Carl Schuster, a former US Navy officer, said suspicions went to the Kremlin.

“It raises questions about naval competence 10 years after (Russian President Vladimir) Putin announced his intention to restore the navy’s capabilities, morale and professionalism,” Schuster said.

“It appears that he has not been able to keep any of his promises to any of the Russian military services,” Schuster said, referring to Russia has suffered setbacks On the ground, too.

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But analysts are divided over the impact of the sinking on the Russian invasion.

ISW analysts see it as a relatively minor blow, saying that the ship was mostly used to launch cruise missile attacks on Ukrainian logistics centers and airports. They said Russia has ground systems and attack aircraft that can do the same.

However, they added that if it was indeed a Ukrainian missile that caused the sinking, the Russian Navy would have to rethink its operations, possibly moving ships away from Ukrainian territory and adjusting its air defenses.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Moskva’s main mission is the air defense of Russian forces in the Black Sea.

“It will certainly have an impact on that capability in the near term,” Kirby told reporters.

Read more about the shipwreck here.

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