• Russian Admiral Viktor Sokolov reportedly killed in missile attack on Black Sea Fleet’s HQ in Sevastopol last week.

Kyiv (Agencies): Ukraine’s special forces said that the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, and 33 other officers were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on the fleet’s headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol last week.

Ukraine’s claim to have killed one of Russia’s most senior navy officers came as Russian authorities said on Monday that air defence systems had repelled another Ukrainian missile attack on Sevastopol in the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Russian air defence units downed a missile near the Belbek military airfield, the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on the Telegram messaging app late on Monday.

Earlier, Ukraine’s special forces said that Friday’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol was aimed at a meeting of the Russian Navy’s leadership.

“After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored,” Ukraine’s special forces said.

While the report did not name Sokolov, Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, posted the admiral’s name and a photo on social media.

Russia’s defence ministry had yet to respond to requests for comment regarding Ukraine’s claims of killing Sokolov.

After the attack on Friday, Moscow reported that one person was missing.

Although Russia and Ukraine have at times exaggerated enemy losses while also saying little about their own, the Washington DC-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said it would be an easy task for Moscow to dispel Ukraine’s claim if it were false.

“ISW has yet to observe confirmation that these Ukrainian strikes killed Sokolov or any other high-ranking Russian commanders, although the Russian command would be able to easily disprove Ukrainian reporting if these reports are false,” the think tank said.

“Sokolov’s and other Russian officers’ reported deaths would create significant disruptions in command and control in the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” the ISW added.

The ISW noted that Ukraine’s special forces also claimed that an earlier missile attack on Sevastopol, which hit the Russian landing ship Minsk and a submarine, killed 62 Russian military personnel who were present during the attack as the Minsk was scheduled to go on combat duty the following day.

By Media

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