In the opening days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there was an omen. We didn’t know it at the time, however.
It came on a piece of land called Snake Island, where roughly a dozen Ukrainian solders were stationed. At the very onset of the war, these troops came face to face with Russia’s most prized warship, the Moskva, which demanded that they lay down their arms and surrender Snake Island to the Kremlin.
The Ukrainian soldiers’ response, delivered via mega-bullhorn out to see was simply “Russian warship: Go f*** yourself”. The ship then fired on Snake Island, and the soldiers were first believed to be dead before rumors arose about their possible capture.
The Snake Island prophecy has come true this week.
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, a guided-missile cruiser that became a potent target of Ukrainian defiance in the opening days of the war, sank Thursday after it was heavily damaged in the latest setback for Moscow’s invasion.
Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the vessel with missiles, while Russia acknowledged a fire aboard the Moskva but no attack. U.S. and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.
The loss of the warship named for the Russian capital is a devastating symbolic defeat for Moscow as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after retreating from much of the north, including the capital, Kyiv.
The news comes as a major blow to the Russian military, who needed the Moskva to provide air support and cover for the rest of the Kremlin’s navy. Now, these warships will need to keep their distance from Ukraine altogether.