BROKEN ARROW: Sunken Russian warship may have had nukes on board
Russia’s flagship that sank off the coast of Ukraine on Thursday may have been carrying nuclear warheads, leading some to question whether the Russian military had a "broken arrow," a term for nuclear weapons incidents -- popularized by the 1996 John Woo action movie
April 16, 2022 10:28am
Updated: April 16, 2022 3:24pm
Russia’s flagship that sank off the coast of Ukraine on Thursday may have been carrying nuclear warheads, according to experts.
Moskva, a Russian guided missile cruiser, sank off the cost of Sevastopol after an explosion on board. Ukrainians claim they hit it with a missile strike, which the Pentagon confirmed Friday, while Moscow maintains a fire set off the ammunition on board.
The incident has led some to question whether the Russian military had a "broken arrow," a term popularized by the 1996 John Woo action-thriller starring John Travolta, Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis. The film is about a rogue USAF fighter pilot who steals two B-83 nuclear bombs while piloting a Stealth Bomber above a Utah National Park. The term "broken arrow" refers to an incident or accident involving nuclear weapons that does not include a threat of nuclear war.
In the immediate real life instance, Russia's 12,500-ton ship, 'the Moskva' (the Moscow) was the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, named after the Russian capital. Its sinking is a significant blow to Russian military power and a cause for jubilation for Ukraine’s soldiers and citizens.
But since then, experts have warned that the Moskva may have been carrying nuclear warheads and called for an immediate investigation.
“Friends and experts say that there are two nuclear warheads for cruise missiles on board the Moskva,” said Andriy Klymenko, editor of Black Sea News.
“Where are these warheads? Where were they when the ammunition exploded? Where is the point on the map, the coordinates?”
Ukraine’s Defense Express news site reported the warship may be carrying up to 16 anti-ship P-1000 “Vulkan” missiles, each of which could be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
“This information is not a secret at all, because this cruiser is designed to destroy aircraft carrier strike groups. But the main issue is the placement of P-1000 missiles,” said Defense Express.
“That is, are nuclear munitions always on board, or are they loaded only by special order?” it continued.
If true, the loss of warheads could spark a “Broken Arrow” incident – a U.S. military term for accidents related to nuclear weapons.
The threat of nuclear war has hung over the war in Ukraine, as Moscow holds the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Russian President Vladimir Putin has escalated the country’s nuclear alert level in response to “aggressive statement” from the West condemning his invasion.
The same warship was involved in the Snake Island incident, where Ukrainian soldiers stationed there told the Russians ship demanding their surrender to “go fuck yourself.” A stamp portraying the event was released on Wednesday, creating long lines outside post offices.
Ukrainian karma:— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 15, 2022
Feb. 24: The birth of the “russian warship, go f--k yourself” phrase
Apr. 13: President @ZelenskyyUa shows the new postage stamp featuring the phrase
Apr. 14: The warship Moskva addressed in the phrase sinks pic.twitter.com/JKJdYyzoeL