Ukraine ‘SINKS’ Russian Black Sea flagship as missile strike engulfs cruiser in flames weeks after Snake Island standoff

UKRAINE has reportedly sunk Russia's most important ship in the Black Sea after an alleged missile strike engulfed it in flames.

Ukrainian officials boasted about destroying and sinking the Moskva missile cruiser after it was reportedly hit on Wednesday – allegedly killing around 300 people.

Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko victoriously claimed the strike had caused "serious damage" to the flagship cruiser.

And Russian sources leaked on Telegram said this morning that Ukrainian forces have now sunk Putin's flagship – in another major blow for Moscow.

Ammunition onboard is thought to have blown up, sparking a blaze, with Russian state media saying all crew had been evacuated.

Moscow's defence ministry are said to have announced the cause of the blast is being investigated.

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But Governor Marchenko triumphantly wrote on Telegram: "Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine!"

Despite claims that the atrocity was caused by Neptune missiles, Russia insists that the damage was caused by a fire.

Telegram channel Ishchi Svoikh, set up by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, reported: “The cruiser Moskva sank at about 3am.

“Shortly before this, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that there was a fire on the ship, the ammunition detonated, the crew was evacuated.

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“But according to our data, this is all far from being the case.

 “An effective rescue operation could not be carried out due to a storm, about 300 sailors died.

“Earlier, Ukrainian media reported that Moskva was hit by two Neptun missiles.”

Russian news agency TASS initially reported that the crew was “completely evacuated”.

A later version of the story removed the word “completely”.

It comes just weeks after the soviet-era ship opened fire on 13 defiant border guards tasked with protecting Snake Island.

The Ukrainians famously told Putin's men "go f**k yourselves" after being asked to surrender.

According to Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych, the ship was "burning strongly" after the supposedly successful strike.

He said in a YouTube broadcast that "a surprise happened with the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet".

Arestovych continued: "It burns strongly. Right now. And with this stormy sea it is unknown whether they will be able to receive help.

"There are 510 crew members. We don't understand what happened."

The Moskva – a 600ft, 12,500 tonne cruiser – menacingly stalks the Black Sea and is the flagship of the fleet.

It became notorious during the early days of the conflict after the Snake Island battle cry became a war call for Ukrainians.

Snake Island is ruled by Ukraine, but it sits just miles from the coast of Romania.

The tiny island is strategically important as its fall will allow Russia to claim territorial waters stretching 12 nautical miles out to sea.

Russia would be able to cut off key shipping channels – isolating Ukraine from international markets and starving its economy of trade revenues.

It comes after dramatic footage emerged of a Russian ship packed with ammo reportedly being blown up.

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Footage shows the landing ship, named Orsk, on fire as black smoke can be seen coming from the port in occupied Berdyansk.

While Orsk sank, and ammunition onboard exploded sending black smoke billowing into the sky, another Kremlin Navy ship was damaged.

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