Estonian navy commander: Moskva sinking will not affect Russia's war goals

Commodore Jüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy
Commodore Jüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy Source: Open Spirit 2021.

The sinking of the Russian battleship Moskva will not have a wider impact on the war although it could be a significant "psychological blow", experts said on Friday.

The ship, equipped with anti-aircraft systems and anti-ship missiles, sunk on Friday in the Black Sea. Ukraine said it fired missiles at the ship, while Russia says a fire broke out onboard.

Although it is a big symbolic loss to the Russian army, it will not have a severe impact on Russia's defense capabilities, Commander of the Estonian Navy Jüri Saksa told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK).

"This is undoubtedly a big loss when we talk about the group's [Black Sea Fleet] capabilities. Is Russia's air defense overall poorer now? Yes, it is a little poorer at sea now, but I don't think that it greatly affects the bigger and wider picture," he said.

Security expert Rainer Saks said Russia is also using the fleet to blockade Ukraine, disrupting the country's ability to trade with the rest of the world which will "certainly hurt the Ukrainians in the long run".

"But the loss of one large warship will not change this blockade," he told AK.

The Moskva is the second Russian warship to have been sunk since the invasion began on February 24 and Saks said this could have a "significant impact" on the war.

"But, I stress that the psychological blow to the Russian navy and the army is much more serious. Certainly especially to the Russian military command," he said.

The Moskva, launched in 1979, was the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet and had a crew of 510. It was a symbol of Russia's military power, leading its naval assault on Ukraine, the BBC reported.

The 12,490-tonne vessel is the biggest Russian warship to be sunk in action since the Second World War.


Editor: Helen Wright

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