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Russian admiral killed? Moscow denies and shows footage

2023-09-27T07:39:45.288Z

Highlights: Russian admiral killed? Moscow denies and shows footage. Several high-ranking Russian military personnel were killed in a missile attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. Among them is said to have been the commander of the fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov. Ukraine has launched a series of significant attacks on Crimea in recent months, often targeting the Black Sea fleet. The Washington Post could not see any signs of apparent manipulation in the video, but could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.



Status: 27.09.2023, 09:24 a.m.

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The commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, at a graduation ceremony at the Nakhimov Black Sea Higher Naval School. © Sergei Malgavko/Imago

After a missile attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet, rumors are circulating about the death of Admiral Sokolov. A video is supposed to prove the opposite.

Kyiv – According to Ukraine, numerous high-ranking Russian military personnel were killed in a missile attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea last week. Among them is said to have been the commander of the fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov.

To refute this claim, the Russian Defense Ministry released footage on Tuesday that appears to show Sokolov alive, allegedly attending a meeting chaired by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu via video link.

The Washington Post could not see any signs of apparent manipulation in the video, but could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.

In response to the video, the Ukrainian special forces issued a statement saying that 34 Russian officers had been killed in the attack, but that they would seek further information on whether Sokolov was among them.


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"Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with a Sokolov who is apparently still alive, our units are clarifying the information," the statement posted on Telegram continued. The Kremlin had initially declined to comment on the question of whether Sokolov is still alive or already dead, stating that all such information should come from the Ministry of Defense.


Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate, the country's top espionage agency, declined to comment.


In the unconfirmed video released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Sokolov can be seen in uniform, but he does not speak. A digital clock in the video shows a time just after 11 a.m. on September 26.

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Attack on Sevastopol: Embarrassing defeat for the Kremlin

Apart from the fate of Sokolov, the September 22 Ukrainian attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol was the subject of competing claims by Kiev and Moscow. Russia initially stated that its air defenses had shot down all missiles fired at the site.

Ukrainian officials scoffed at these claims, while a video posted on social media on the day of the attack, verified by Storyful and confirmed by the Washington Post, showed smoke rising from the Black Sea Fleet headquarters. Commercial satellite imagery also showed large amounts of smoke rising from near the headquarters after the attacks.

The success of the attack on Sevastopol is an embarrassing setback for Russian air defenses. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia maintained its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol under a lease agreement with the newly independent Ukraine. In 2014, Russia invaded and illegally annexed the peninsula.

Attack on Sevastopol: Leading Russian military injured

After the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Crimea became an important military deployment area. Ukraine has made the reconquest of Crimea a major goal of the conflict, with some officials arguing that the country could never be safe under Russian control. Ukraine has launched a series of significant attacks on Crimea in recent months, often targeting the Black Sea Fleet.

About the author

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

Rumors of Sokolov's death circulated on the Internet among pro-Ukrainian forces shortly after the attack. In an interview with the Ukrainian-language service of Voice of America, a channel owned by the US government, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, declined to confirm the reports of Sokolov's death.

However, he said that several leading Russian military personnel were injured in the attack. One of them, Colonel-General Alexander Romanchuk, is in "very serious condition," Budanov said. Romanchuk, former head of a prestigious military academy in Moscow, is a key figure in Russia's defense of Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive in the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

On Monday, the Ukrainian special forces wrote on Telegram that Sokolov and 33 other officers had been killed in the attack on Sevastopol. In a report that same evening, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it saw no confirmation of this news, but added that "the Russian leadership would be able to easily refute Ukrainian reporting if these reports are false."


"The reports of the deaths of Sokolov and other Russian officers would cause significant disruption in the command and control structure of the Russian Black Sea Fleet," the report added.


Mary Ilyushina, Kostiantyn Khudov, Joyce Sohyun Lee and David L. Stern contributed to this report.

We are currently testing machine translations. This article has been automatically translated from English into German.

This article was first published in English by "Washingtonpost.com" on September 26, 2023 - in the course of a cooperation, it is now also available in translation to the readers of IPPEN. MEDIA portals.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-09-27

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