Russian Defense Ministry says fire broke out on naval cruiser Moskva

Ukrainian military had earlier claimed that it struck warship with 2 missiles.

Russian Defense Ministry says fire broke out on naval cruiser Moskva

A fire broke on the Russian Black Sea fleet flagship cruiser Moskva, Russia’s Defense Ministry said early Thursday.

"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.

It added that the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Late Wednesday, Maksym Marchenko, the head of Ukraine’s Odessa Regional Military Administration, said the Ukrainian military had struck the warship with two Neptune class anti-ship missiles, causing severe damage.

The Moskva is the lead ship of the Project 1164 Atlant class of guided missile cruisers in the Russian Navy. It was put into operation in 1983 under the name "Glory." In 1996, the cruiser received its current name.

The ship’s armament included Bazalt and Vulcan anti-ship missiles as well as S-300 long-range air-defense missiles.

At least 1,932 civilians have been killed and 2,589 injured in Ukraine since Russia started the war on its neighbor on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be much higher.

More than 4.6 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.