On April 12, 2022, the Russian Black Sea Fleet's flagship, the cruiser Moskva was damaged by what the Ukrainians claimed were Neptune missiles fired by the Ukrainian forces from Odessa. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed the Ukrainian account.
For Russia, the loss of the Moskva was a major disaster, but the Russian media refused to acknowledge the Ukrainian success. Russia's First television channel reported as late as April 17 that "There are no casualties among the crew members of the Moskva missile cruiser. All sailors were evacuated in time. The cruiser sank while being towed to port during a severe storm. Due to serious damage to the hull, which occurred as a result of a fire and the subsequent detonation of ammunition, the ship lost its stability - it tilted and could not return to equilibrium. The causes of the emergency on board are being established." 
When Vladimir Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov was pressed about photos showing the Moskva burning casting doubt on the survival of all crew members, he parried: "We have seen the footage. But we cannot say how much it corresponds to reality."
Responding to the Pentagon's confirmation of the Ukrainian account, Andrei Klimov head of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee claimed ["The United States] provides them (the Ukrainian Armed Forces) with very serious and operational intelligence information, which is extremely important for our Ukrainian opponents, including providing information and psychological support for the actions of this Kiev junta."
Klimov emphasized that this American support also embraced the principle "lie as loudly and as frequently as possible". Pursuantly, any information emanating from the West should be immediately divided by 10.
When the outlet Regnum.ru, surveyed reaction on the web to the sinking of the Moskva it featured statements expressing gratitude that the ship's crew was safe and sound, and that Russia could build more ships to replace the Moskva.
One Russian netizen, Maxim F. described the loss of the Moskva as a page in the glorious annals of Russian military history: "During active hostilities, the ship sank. Isn't it an honor for a military cruiser? In my opinion, this is exactly what will be written in the history books: 'The ship was wrecked during the war against Ukrainian fascism. Thanks to the courage and bravery of the sailors, the ship's crew managed to evacuate. It will be an epic page in our new history!'
What was allowed to seep through were questions not about the official version of accidental sinking, but whether prompt action by the crew could have averted it. Pavel S. wrote: "The main thing is to consider the mistakes that the cruiser's crew made, and not allow the Bandera people [a pejorative description of the Ukrainian forces] to create pretexts for mockery. It is we who rejoice that the crew returned home alive, and on the other side there is hysterical glee about the fact that they allegedly managed to flood the Russian ship. They themselves do not have a fleet, at least in this way they can console their perverted guts. They must not be allowed to laugh; the Nazis must suffer!"
Valery S. came closest to crediting the Ukrainians for the sinking: "Hmm ... it’s good that most of the crew were not injured. Nevertheless, we all understand that such incidents should not be allowed in the future. Our enemy is cunning and does not forgive mistakes. Everything that happens on the line of contact should be monitored as closely as possible, and we should not forget about ensuring the safety of our warships."
The widely-read blogger Anatoly Nesmiyan aka El-Murid challenged the official version pointing out the crude attempts to whitewash and prettify the reality. Nesmiyan, who had acquired a reputation as an expert on Russia's intervention in Syria, went further. Russian officials had defended the intervention not only as a preemptive battle against Islamists, but candidly admitted that it served as a proving ground for Russian military hardware and provided needed combat experience. Nesmiyan claims that Syria was a disservice to the Russian military, because it did not have to confront a serious enemy. This left it unprepared for the fighting in Ukraine. Nesmiyan's comments on the sinking of the Moskva follow below:
The doomed Moskva in flames (Source: Press.lv)
"The crew of the guided missile cruiser Moskva has been evacuated after a fire caused by detonated ammunition. According to Russian Defense Ministry, the ship sustained heavy damage. Causes of the flame are being investigated.
"As always, even in a situation, where all the media have already reported the cause –the cruiser was struck by Ukrainian missiles, the Russian Ministry of Defense neutrally reported that things aren’t yet entirely clear for it. "Flame" is such a bland term, sort of like "popping" or "flooding" [frequent euphemisms for tragedies used by the Russian press]. When porridge gets burned during cooking, that's a flame. However, when the ammunition detonates, it should be called something different.
"The fate of the ship itself is not yet clear. At 1:05 an SOS signal was transmitted; at 1:14 the cruiser was almost lying on its port side, half an hour later all the power was lost. At 2 a.m. a Turkish ship evacuated 54 sailors from the "Moskva," and at about 3 a.m., Turkey and Romania reported that the ship sunk. This was the foreign version of events; there is still no Russian (intelligible) version.
"Things were good in Syria: you can fly around, bombing schools and hospitals, children and women from above. From the sea, recorded by a Channel One camera, one can lazily fire Kalibrs [cruise missiles], to the delight of the hamster-crowd [people who take their cue from Russian TV]; no one bothers you especially, and all together these things are called "exercises." Half of the losses come from your army’s own slovenliness. The help of such exercises has now become apparent: when facing an enemy, who knows how to play the game, it turns out that the exercises should be conducted according to quite different scenarios. One shouldn’t play tank biathlon and air-darts, one shouldn’t storm cardboard “Reichstags,” but seriously and without playing around to learn how to build anti-missile defenses for your warships."
A day later, Nesmiyan added the following: "The cruiser Moskva sank after all. It has already been officially recognized. According to the official version – [it sank] when under tow due to rough seas. To be frank, there are no other weather anomalies in the region now, except for a small tedious rain, so, most likely, the state of the cruiser was so deplorable that it simply could not even reach [a port] while under tow.