Russian missile cruiser seriously damaged by fire, blast of ammunition: MoD
The Russian Ministry of Defense announces that the Black Sea Russian Missile Cruiser Moskva received "serious damage" and that its entire crew was evacuated.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet's flagship, the Moskva missile cruiser, was damaged by heavy fire and the subsequent detonation of ammunition, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
In a statement, the ministry revealed that "as result of the fire that hit the Moskva missile cruiser, the ammunition has detonated. The ship has been seriously damaged."
All crew members were safely evacuated, according to the statement, and the cause of the incident is being probed.
The ship was laid down in 1976 at Mykolaiv and commissioned in 1983 under the name "Slava."
In the second half of 2015, the cruiser commanded the Russian naval task force in the Mediterranean, protecting the Russian Hmeimim base in Syria with its air defense systems. On July 22, 2016, it was awarded the Nakhimov Order.
For its part, Kiev announced that its forces had hit the Russian warship with a missile strike.
The governor of the Black Sea region of Odessa, Maxim Marchenko, claimed on Telegram that the Russian ship was hit using Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Russian MoD: Ukrainian nationalists holding Over 6,200 foreigners hostage
In another context, The Russian ministry of defense announced that Ukrainian nationalists are taking more than 6,200 foreigners from 11 nations hostage.
"Ukrainian nationalists continue to hold 6,253 foreign citizens from 11 states hostage as human shields," the head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who also leads Russia's humanitarian response coordination headquarters announced.
He further stated that 76 foreign ships from 18 different countries are currently stranded in Ukrainian ports.
On February 24, Russia started a special military operation in Ukraine in response to pleas for protection from Ukrainian forces by the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics. The special operation, which targets Ukrainian military infrastructure, aims to "demilitarize and denazify" Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russia was subjected to a slew of sanctions imposed by Western countries after the operation began.