- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft was reportedly tracking the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet on April 13 in the hours before it was hit by Ukrainian forces.

The British Daily Mail newspaper reported that the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon was providing targeting data to Ukrainian forces, making it possible for them to fire a pair of Neptune missiles at the guided-missile cruiser Moskva while it was patrolling south of Odesa.

The Kremlin initially claimed the damage to the Moskva was the result of an onboard explosion caused by a fire. The warship later sank as it was being towed back to Russia-controlled Crimea for repairs.

Citing The Times of London, the Daily Mail said the P-8 Posideon was based at the Navy’s base in Sigonella, Italy, on the island of Sicily.

The Moskva is believed to have had about 500 crew members. The Pentagon has said some of them were able to escape but acknowledged there likely were casualties as a result of the Ukrainian attack.

The Moskva was the primary air defense asset for Russia’s maritime fleet in the area. Its sinking is believed to have dealt a serious blow to Moscow’s amphibious attack plans.

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• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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