Russian state TV says World War Three has already started after the sinking of the Moskva.
The Kremlin’s main propaganda mouthpiece went into meltdown last night after the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet was taken out.
Officials have refused to acknowledge Ukraine’s claims it struck the ship with cruise missiles, an operation which would be one of Kyiv’s biggest military successes since the invasion began.
But despite Russia’s insistence it sunk because of fire, the Ukrainian capital was struck by rockets overnight, a sign Vladimir Putin wants revenge for the downing of the prized naval asset.
The city has been spared arial bombardment since Russian troops pulled out of the north but there were strikes against Kyiv, Kharkiv and locations further west.
Russia 1, a Kremlin mouthpiece which has championed the war, came close to acknowledging Ukraine sunk the Moskva by demanding a crushing response.
Olga Skabeyeva, one of Vladimir Putin’s leading propagandists, told viewers Western support for Ukraine amounted to direct conflict with Russia, saying: ‘What it’s escalated into can safely be called World War Three. That’s entirely for sure.
‘Now we’re definitely fighting against Nato infrastructure, if not Nato itself. We need to recognise that.’
A guest on the show likened the sinking of the Moskva to an attack on Russian soil, despite the Kremlin’s insistence it went down because of a fire.
He also used the word ‘war’, banned in Russia, and had to be reminded of the government-approved terminology ‘special military operation’, adding Kyiv should be destroyed.
Russia has previously said it considers arms being delivered to Ukraine legitimate targets.
The Kremlin has also responded furiously to the news Sweden and Finland are set to apply to join Nato in response to the invasion.
Pro-Ukraine sources say the Moskva was taken out in an operation using drones to confuse its anti-missile defence systems.
With its guns distracted by the unmanned aircraft hovering above it, two Neptune cruise missiles were fired from land and hit the port side of the warship.
The strike triggered an explosion in the ammunition store and a fire, a detail confirmed in part by the Kremlin.
Russia said all 500 crew on board were evacuated but it’s likely there were fatalities.
It is the largest vessel to be sunk in combat since the Royal Navy took out the Belgrano during the Falkland’s War and the most significant naval casualty since the Second World War.