US spies helped sink Russia's flagship by revealing the ship's radar was down as Ukraine distracted the sailors with a drone, it is reported.

Moskva – the largest Russian warship to sink in combat since World War Two – plunged to the bottom of the Black Sea on April 14 after being hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles.

The Russian ministry of defence said explosions ripped through the ammunition stores on April 13 triggering a major blaze before it sunk the next day.

Moskva had played a deadly role in the war by bombarding towns and cities in Ukraine from positions at sea.

According to NBC News, US officials said the attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa.

The US reportedly identified the vessel as Moskva and helped confirm its location.

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The official said the US was not aware that Ukraine planned to strike the warship until after they conducted the assault – and America was not involved in the decision.

After receiving the intel, Ukraine is said to have harassed the vessel with a drone as a distraction before finally striking with two cruise missiles.

Officials have also questioned whether the radars on Moskva were working properly.

Ukraine's southern military command said it hit the warship and caused significant damage before it started sinking.

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The forces claimed fire was started by the missile strike – and rescue ships were then hampered by ammunition exploding on board.

Bad weather then caused the stricken warship to begin to sink, Ukraine claimed.

The vessel played had played key role defending Russia’s navy and its loss was a major coup for Ukraine – leaving the rest of the fleet more vulnerable.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US didn't provide Ukraine with "specific targeting information for the Moskva".

He said: "We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out.

"We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship.

"The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case."

Mr Kirby also denied that US agencies have provided intelligence on the location of military chiefs.

He said they "do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military".

"Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intel that they themselves are gathering and then they make their own decisions and they take their own actions," Kirby said.

The Russian Navy have faced massive losses since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

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In March, a Raptor was wiped out with an anti-tank missiles, while an Alligator Class landing ship was blown sky-high in Berdyansk.

As well as the blowing up of Moskva in April, two Raptor assault boats were annihilated in May by a drone near Snake Island.

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