Russian State TV: After Ship Sinking, 'World War 3 Has Begun'

The former Moskva, a Russian missile cruise ship, sails in 2014


The former Moskva, a Russian missile cruise ship, that was sunk last week, reportedly by a Ukrainian missile attack. (Can Merey/AP)

Russian state television declared Friday night that its conflict in Ukraine can now "safely be called World War III."

"What it's escalated into can safely be called World War III – that's entirely for sure," Russia 1 television host Olga Skabeyeva said, according to a translation of Friday night’s broadcast by Britain's Metro News. "Now we're definitely fighting against NATO infrastructure, if not NATO itself. We need to recognize that."

The remarks on the Russian state sponsored station come a day after Russia's flagship, the Moskva, sank in the Black Sea on Thursday.

While the Russians claim the sinking was the result of an onboard fire that accidentally broke out, U.S. officials confirmed to The New York Times that two Ukrainian Neptune missiles struck the vessel, seen as the pride of the Russian fleet, killing an unknown number of sailors, and sending the vessel to the bottom of the Black Sea.

According to the Times, the Moskva was positioned off the Ukrainian coast and was used to send rockets into Ukrainian cities, hitting apartment buildings and other targets.

Retired military officers told the Times the sinking was a "bold" counterattack and the ship's powerful missile platform is impossible to replace, making it a "grave blow" to Russia’s fleet.

"It was a very impressive ship," retired Rear Adm. Samuel J. Cox, the director of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington told the Times. "With those surface-to-surface missile launchers, she really looks dangerous. But apparently, she can't take a punch."

Metro News reported Russia launched rockets into the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv overnight, which might be a form of revenge by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One of the guests on the Russia 1 broadcast compared the sinking of the Moskva to an attack on Russian soil and called for the destruction of Kyiv, according to the report.

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the nation would be sending Ukraine another $800 million in military assistance, bringing the total to $2.5 billion in military equipment and arms, Reuters reported.

The latest round of aid came after Biden spoke on the telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"We cannot rest now," Biden said in a written statement. "As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom."

Putin, however, said any military aid entering Ukraine could be considered "targets" for his forces, the Times report said.

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