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Moskva ship: how big is it, when was it built, what weapons does it have?

Amid claims the Moskva was hit by Ukrainian missiles, Russia says the flagship of its Black Sea fleet was severely damaged after a fire on board caused ammunition to detonate.

CANAKKALE, TURKIYE - (ARCHIVE): A file photo dated November 15, 2013 shows guided missile cruiser of the Russian Navy, Moskva, passing through  the Dardanelles strait in Canakkale, Turkiye.  Russian Defense Ministry says fire broke out on naval cruiser Moskva. "As a result of a fire, ammunition exploded on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged. The crew was completely evacuated,❠the ministry said in a statement. Late Wednesday, Maksym Marchenko, the head of Ukraineâs Odessa Regional Military Administration, said the Ukrainian military had struck the warship with two Neptune class anti-ship missiles, causing severe damage. (Photo by Burak Akay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia said on Thursday that the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of the country’s Black Sea fleet, has been evacuated after being badly damaged by an explosion.

Russia says fire caused blast, Ukraine says missiles hit ship

While a Ukrainian official has claimed the ship was hit by two of Ukraine’s Neptune missiles, Moscow says the blast was caused by an on-board fire that led ammunition to detonate.

A fire on board the Mosvka missile cruiser caused a blast of the broadside munitions,” the Russian news agency Tass quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying. “The ship received serious damage. The crew was evacuated.”

Later on Thursday, Russia’s defence ministry denied reports that the Moskva had sunk. According to Reuters, it insisted that the fire had been contained and that the missile cruiser’s weapons had not been damaged.

Russia added that steps were being taken to tow the Moskva back to port.

The regional governor of Odesa, Maksym Marchenko, had earlier claimed that the Moskva was struck by Ukrainian weapons. Per Reuters, Marchenko wrote in an online post: “Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage.”

Related: Putin’s strange gesture during ministerial meeting deciphered

Moskva: key info on the damaged missile cruiser

Originally called the Slava, the Moskva was first launched in 1979, during the Soviet Union era, before being placed into commission in 1983.

The 12,500-ton, 510-crew ship is 611.5 feet long, while its beam (the vessel’s width at its widest point) measures in at 68.22 feet.

The Moskva has a top speed of 32 knots, which equates to about 37 miles per hour.

The ship was actually built in what is now Ukraine, in the southern city of Mykolaiv. It was decommissioned for a refit in 1990, before returning to service in 2000 as the Moskva.

It carries anti-ship missiles, short and long-range surface-to-air-missiles, anti-submarine mortars and torpedoes. It also has an AK-130 twin dual-purpose gun, and several AK-630 close-in weapons systems.

The ship has taken part in several Russian military campaigns, including being deployed in the Syrian conflict in 2015.

FILE PHOTO: Russia's coat of arms, the double headed eagle, is seen on covers of the missile cruiser Moskva in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov/File Photo
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FILE PHOTO: Russia's coat of arms, the double headed eagle, is seen on covers of the missile cruiser Moskva in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov/File PhotoDenis SinyakovREUTERS

Moskva told to “go fuck yourself” in Snake Island attack

On 24 February, the day the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Moskva was involved in the Russian attack on Snake Island - an event that gained particular media attention because of the defiant response of the troops defending the strategically-important Black Sea island.

When an officer on board the Moskva urged the Ukrainian forces to surrender, the soldier Roman Hrybov reportedly responded: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself!”

On Thursday, a tweet by the Ukrainian Armed Forces read: “The missile cruiser “Moscow” went exactly where it was sent by our border guards on Snake Island! Glory to Ukraine!”