- Ukraine’s top naval commander was promoted after the sinking of a Russia ship.
- The Moskva was lost after being hit by Ukraine’s Neptune missiles, US officials said.
- It was the largest warship lost since WWII, and its loss was a huge blow to Russian prestige.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promoted Ukraine’s top naval commander in what officials suggested was a reward for sinking the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Oleksiy Neizhpapa was elevated from the rank of Rear Admiral to Vice Admiral on April 16, according to a decree on Zelenskyy’s website.
It did not give a reason for the promotion. But Victoria Strakhova, an adviser in Zelenskyy’s administration, said in a Facebook post that “everybody knows” the “lightning operation” that prompted the move.
Anton Gerashchenko, another Ukrainian official, made the same connection on his Telegram channel.
Both were gesturing towards the destruction of the Moskva, a Russian missile cruiser, which was its flagship in the Black Sea that the country shares with Ukraine.
The vessel was confirmed sunk by Russia on April 14 after Ukraine said it hit the ship with its Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Russia has not acknowledged the claimed Ukrainian attack but US officials confirmed that the missile strike was genuine.
The Moskva was the largest warship to be destroyed since World War II.
Its loss represented a huge blow to Russian military prestige and a massive morale boost to Ukraine. Russian media has studiously avoided reporting any details of the Moskva’s destruction, as noted by the BBC’s Russia editor Steve Rosenberg.
—Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) April 17, 2022
The Moskva gained early infamy in the war for its role in conquering Snake Island, where Ukrainian defenders refused to surrender and told the warship to “fuck off” before being captured.
Russia was so confident of the ship’s prowess that it stationed a priceless Orthodox Christian relic on board, a purported piece of the “true cross” on which Christ was crucified.
It is not clear whether the relic went down with the ship, as Insider’s Mia Jankowicz reported.