Viktor Sokolovcommander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and one of the highest officers of the Russian navy, appeared on Tuesday in a video conferencea day after Ukrainian special forces said they had killed him.
In a video and photographs released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, Sokolov was shown apparently participating in a telematic meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking admirals and army chiefs.
The video was broadcast on Russian state television. Sokolov does not speak and has a rigid appearance, with his military uniform and a background similar to the rest of the participants that does not give further indications about his location. It appears in several shots throughout the eight minutes released by the ministry.
Ukrainian special forces said on Monday they had killed Sokolov, 61, Moscow’s top admiral in Crimea, along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet. of Russia in the port of Sevastopol.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring journalists to the Defense Ministry.
In the video released by the ministry, Shoigu said that more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 weapons had been destroyed, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles. “The Ukrainian armed forces are suffering heavy losses along the entire front line,” Shoigu said, adding that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had so far yielded no results.
“The United States and its allies continue to arm Ukrainian forces, and the Kiev regime sends untrained soldiers to the slaughterhouse in senseless assaults,” Shoigu said.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has yet to produce significant territorial gains against Russian forces, which control about 17.5% of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory.
According to a September 19 report from the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School, Russia has gained 35 square miles of territory from Ukraine in the past month, while Ukrainian forces have taken 16 square miles from Russian forces.
Ukraine has in recent weeks intensified its operations against Russian forces controlling Crimeawith attacks that have used naval and aerial drones and missiles that have managed to destroy defense systems and cause damage to Russian military ships and submarines, according to several Kiev spokespersons.
(With information from Reuters, AFP, EFE)