At the very beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, back when the world was still convinced that the Kremlin was going to make quick work of it, there were a number of moments that alluded to the idea that Ukraine wasn’t about to roll over.
One of the most prominent of these moments came as Russia’s most powerful naval vessel, the Moskva, made a pass at Snake Island, broadcasting a message to the Ukrainian soldiers stationed there: Lay down your weapons and surrender.
The Ukrainian troops used a loudspeaker to respond, stating simply: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself”.
It looks like the Moskva took their advice.
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, a guided-missile cruiser that became a potent target of Ukrainian defiance in the opening days of the war, sank Thursday after it was heavily damaged in the latest setback for Moscow’s invasion.
Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the vessel with missiles, while Russia acknowledged a fire aboard the Moskva but no attack. U.S. and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.
The loss of the warship named for the Russian capital is a devastating symbolic defeat for Moscow as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after retreating from much of the north, including the capital, Kyiv.
The fate of the sailors on Snake Island has not yet been confirmed, with initial reports suggesting that they were killed when the Moskva shelled the island, while later evidence seemed to suggest that they had been captured.