Russian Black Sea Commander Shown Working After Ukraine Said It Killed Him

By Reuters
September 26, 2023Russia–Ukraine War
Russian Black Sea Commander Shown Working After Ukraine Said It Killed Him
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu chairs a meeting with the leadership of the Armed Forces as Russian fleet commanders are seen on a screen via video link in Moscow in a picture released on Sept. 26, 2023. (Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

MOSCOW—Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and one of Russia’s most senior navy officers, was shown on Tuesday attending a video conference, a day after Ukrainian special forces claimed they had killed him.

In video and photographs released by the Russian defense ministry, Mr. Sokolov was shown taking part in a video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other top admirals and army chiefs.

The video was shown on Russian state television.

Ukraine’s special forces said on Monday they had killed Mr. Sokolov, Moscow’s top admiral in Crimea, along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the defense ministry.

Viktor Sokolov
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilization in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022. (Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters)

In the video released by the ministry, Mr. Shoigu said that more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 weapons, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles, had been destroyed.

“The Ukrainian armed forces are suffering serious losses along the entire front line,” Mr. Shoigu said, adding that the Ukrainian counter-offensive had so far produced no results.

“The United States and its allies continue to arm the armed forces of Ukraine, and the Kyiv regime throws untrained soldiers to their slaughter in senseless assaults,” Mr. Shoigu said.

According to a Sept. 19 scorecard by the Belfer Center at Harvard’s 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.

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