Moskva featured in one of the landmark early exchanges of the war, when Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island, a small outcrop in the Black Sea, told the ship to “Go fuck yourself” after it demanded they surrender.
No one told the Russian Captain of the Moskva not to test the spirit of Snake Island nor provoke its curse. He and his crew must now suffer the consequences.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is Now at Risk
For weeks, the Russian Black Sea fleet has bombarded Ukraine from offshore, using mostly long range missiles. With few exceptions, the Ukrainian shore defenses have been unable to respond effectively to this bombardment. But times are changing, as the Ukrainians begin fielding more anti-ship missiles, including the homemade Neptune, Harpoons from the UK, and more advanced missiles from Norway with longer range.
. The system has a range of 174-180 miles (280-300 km) and operates as a sea-skimmer, flying low and close to the water to make it almost undetectable until just before it hits its target. It was scheduled to be deployed this month with a full division of six launchers, seventy-two cruise missiles (more than three for each remaining major Russian surface vessel), and accompanying radar systems. But Russia’s seems to have derailed this timetable, and it is unclear when it will be able to safely deploy its system and have it and its crews be operational. Details are few and far between as Ukraine obviously would want to keep Russia guessing.
This must have been part of the discussion over the past month between Ukraine and NATO nations, and taking into account the issues with the Neptunes, NATO has been working to arm Ukraine with anti-ship missiles for weeks. Reports from early April indicated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been keen to arm Ukraine with anti-ship missiles, that these would most likely be truck-mounted versions of its U.S.-supplied Harpoon missiles, its version having a range of 80 miles (128 km) and also capable of hitting land targetsRussian Black Sea Fleet Faces Threat
Ukrainian-built Neptune missile is based on an old Soviet design, and would be unable to sink a cruiser of the size of the Moskva, without a bit of luck.
The Neptune anti-ship missile was developed by the Luch design bureau. It uses R-360 anti-ship cruise missile. First announced in 2013, the anti-ship missile completed its first operational tests three years later. In 2019, the Ukrainian military completed the development of the Neptune and ordered the first batches.
At over 5 meters, the Neptune carries a 320-pound High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead that can sink vessels up to 5,000 tonnes, for example, destroyers and frigates. The fact that it might have sunk the Moskva means that the Ukrainians either fired more than missiles or that it struck a magazine.Ukraine Can Make Missiles Too
The Moskva was apparently
not sunk. It was only damaged badly enough to make it unusable — and probably not repairable. Update: It was sunk, after all. Call it a lucky shot.
As Ukraine builds its stock of anti-ship missiles of various sizes and ranges, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will find it harder to accomplish its mission of destroying civilian infrastructure — without great risk to itself. If Ukraine adds a fleet of small fast missile throwers and stealthy drone missile boats, Russia may have to fall back on its diesel-powered submarine fleet and its cruise missiles.
Ukraine will probably find an answer to the Russian submarines eventually, but only after more hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings have been destroyed.
Putin’s war against the peaceful and sovereign nation of Ukraine can go in three ways. Russia’s offensive in the Donbas may be successful in grabbing total control of the region, or Ukraine may push Russian troops back to the original pre-war lines of control or beyond, or the war will continue in a back and forth see-saw manner of stalemate and attrition, with horrific losses on both sides. More
Russia threw three-quarters of its ground-combat forces into Ukraine, where they were driven from one theater and severely handled in the others, and now has no real reserves on which to draw.
Putin will order offensives that, if confronted by a well-resourced Ukrainian foe, can effectively destroy his own army. The challenge for the West is to ensure that this is its fate.
It is in no one’s interests (except for China and weapons manufacturers) for this war to drag on indefinitely. And it is certainly not in the western world’s interests for Russia to successfully grab all or part of Ukraine to use as a staging ground for further conquests. The best option for the free world is to help Ukraine, the original nation of the Rus, to repel the eastern barbarians in convincing fashion.
Putin has been counting on being able to finance his war through continuing sales of petroleum products to outside nations. But more countries are reducing their purchases of Russian petroleum, and even China and India are finding it almost impossible to ship Russian oil — for a variety of reasons:
…a “buyers’ strike” in Europe with many majors refusing to deal with Russian spot cargoes is forcing Russian crude to make much longer and complicated voyages to reach willing buyers in Asia. While China and India are not shying away from Russian crude—which sells at hefty discounts attracting price-sensitive buyers—the logistics of shipping oil from Russia’s Black Sea and Baltic ports to Asia and the scarce tanker availability, bank guarantees, and insurance for Russian cargoes would limit the amount of oil that Asia could take and compensate for lost barrels that are no longer going to Europe, analysts say.
Due to major shifts in global trade routes to accommodate more Russian oil going to Asia, the world’s top-importing crude region will not be able to accommodate all the oil Europe is shunning.Russia is Losing Sales of Crude Oil to China and India
Putin’s poorly planned war against its parent nation to the west is costing Russia dearly in blood and in international respect. Russian demography looks even worse now than it did before the invasion of Ukraine. Living inside Russia grows more unpleasant by the day.
If the fates turn against the Russian invaders — as the spirit of Snake Island seems to have done — Putin may feel compelled to resort to NBC weapons of mass destruction. That would not be good for anyone concerned. A better scenario would be for Russian actors to remove Putin from his place at the table — a position that the aging dictator has abused to the harm of Russia and Russians. Best for the Kremlin not to let things get much worse.
More than 30% of Russia’s original battle groups have been rendered unfit for combat since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began. The Kremlin has had to scramble to find replacement troops and war materiel.
Moscow’s incursion, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, has seen more than 4.6 million people flee abroad, killed or wounded thousands and left Russia increasingly isolated on the world stage.
Western-led sanctions have triggered the worst economic crisis in Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, say analysts. More than 600 companies, including McDonalds, have announced their withdrawal from Russia, which will directly cause the loss of about 1 million jobs.
Overall, 2.6 million people may fall below Russia’s official poverty line this year, the World Bank estimates.
The conflict has also galvanized NATO and prompted Russia’s neighbors Sweden and Finland to discuss joining the Western military alliance.Is This What Vlad Had In Mind?
More: Should Putin Have Started His Grand Crusade With Lithuania?
In truth, Russia was sitting in a dominant position in Europe before Vlad’s invasion and genocide in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s vaunted war machine was feared by mainstream media consumers the world around. Putin’s war has pulled the veil from the eyes of the world.
All of Russia’s neighbors should take note of Ukraine’s experience on the battlefield against Russian troops and weapons. Especially if they are not members of NATO. They are all hoping that Ukraine destroys as much of Russia’s war-making capacity as possible.