TPM Reader RS pointed something out to me which I think may answer some of the questions I had about the sinking of the Moskva (see this post from yesterday). As I mentioned, I was trying to understand what specific insights Ukraine might have had about the Moskva’s technology or operational practice that may have helped with its successful missile strike against the ship. Here is maybe part of that answer.
The Moskva was a Slava-class missile cruiser, a late Soviet Navy class ship from the 1980s. Ukraine inherited one of those Slava-class cruisers with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, later renamed the Ukraina. But it was never completed for budget reasons. To be clear, it’s in the water. But it’s been moored at the Mykolayiv shipyard for 30 years. As recently as 2010, Ukraine was still discussing selling it to Russia. And perhaps significantly they had tentative plans to complete the ship (said to be 95% complete) together. In 2017 Ukraine announced it was scrapping the ship because just keeping it sitting in the dock cost about a quarter million a month. A year later there was discussion of selling it to Brazil.
In any case, point being the Ukrainian Navy has a sister ship of the Moskva. That certainly seems like a good way to have a deep operational understanding of its potential vulnerabilities. That, perhaps combined with other intelligence about how the Russians were using the the ship’s defensive capabilities.