Russia claims missile factory strike after Ukraine sinks flagship vessel
The Russian government has said it struck a plant in Kyiv that makes and repairs Ukrainian missiles, with reports of loud explosions being heard in the capital.
This follows the sinking of Moskva – Russia’s flagship vessel – with the Ukrainian government reporting its missiles hit the warship.
Russia has denied the claim and said the ship sank while being towed in stormy seas after a fire caused by an explosion of ammunition.
The Kremlin said more than 500 sailors had been evacuated, but there has been no independent confirmation of the fate of the crew.
Moskva was by far Russia’s largest vessel in the Black Sea fleet, and was equipped with guided missiles to shoot down planes and attack the shore.
No warship of such size has been sunk during conflict since Argentina’s General Belgrano, torpedoed by the British in the 1982 Falklands war.
Russia has used its naval power to blockade Ukrainian ports and threaten a potential landing along the coast.
Without its flagship, its ability to menace Ukraine from the sea could be crippled.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the European Union (EU) against banning Russian oil imports.
The EU is weighing up plans to phase down Russian oil supplies, in line with approved measures to cut Russian coal out of European markets by mid-August.
He argued Europe would suffer “extremely painful” economic consequences if the continent tries to replace its supply of oil and gas.
Putin said: “A reasonable replacement for Europe simply does not exist, There are simply no spare volumes in the global market, and deliveries from other countries, primarily the US, which may be sent to Europe, will cost the consumers many times more.”