The commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet attended a Russian Defense Ministry video conference on Tuesday, a day after Ukraine claimed he was killed in a September 22 missile strike on the fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea.
The Russian Defense Ministry released footage that showed Adm. Viktor Sokolov virtually attending a meeting led by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. In response to Sokolov appearing at the meeting, Ukraine’s special operations forces, which claimed he was dead on Monday, said it would “clarify” information about the missile strike.
“As is known, 34 officers were killed as a result of a missile attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Available sources claim that the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet was among the dead. Many still have not been identified due to the disparity of body fragments,” Ukraine’s special operations forces said on Telegram.
“Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish an answer with an apparently alive Sokolov, our units are clarifying the information. This is happening within the procedure for collecting data on the results of the operation,” they added.
While Kyiv claims 34 Russian officers were killed in the strike, the Russian side has not confirmed any deaths. According to Russia’s TASS news agency, the Russian Defense Ministry only said one serviceman was missing after the strike. Ukrainian sources have told media outlets that the September 22 attack used British-provided Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
Ukraine has significantly stepped up attacks on Crimea amid its faltering counteroffensive. The September 22 missile strike came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Canada following his visit to Washington, where he pushed for more US aid.