Viktor Sokolov: Russian video ‘shows Black Sea fleet commander alive’

Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov (NVUNTS Navy)
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov (NVUNTS Navy)

A Russian commander Ukraine said was killed by a missile strike has been shown appearing at a conference in footage released by Russia.

Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was shown on Russian state television on Tuesday attending a defence leaders’ meeting remotely.

It is not clear when the footage was filmed, and Sokolov did not speak in the clip.

The footage was released a day after Ukrainian special forces said they had killed him.

In video and photographs released by the defence ministry, Sokolov was shown as one of several fleet commanders on video apparently joining an in-person meeting of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other army chiefs.

Ukraine’s special forces said on Monday that Sokolov had been killed 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 in Crimea, seized from Ukraine in 2014.

In response to the Russian video, the Ukraine special forces said on Telegram: “Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with Sokolov allegedly alive, our units are clarifying the information."

The Kremlin had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim. The Standard is unable to independently verify the reports.

It came as Russia struck the Black Sea region of Odesa for a second night in a row in a drone attack.

It led to the suspension of ferry services between Romania and Ukraine, officials said on Tuesday.

Video shot from the Romanian side of the Danube River showed rapid-fire bursts of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire taking down the drones.

Ukraine’s air force said it downed 26 of 38 drones launched by Russia overnight.

At least nine civilians were killed in Ukraine and 15 people were injured over the past 24 hours, the presidential office reported, though some of those deaths were also reported on Monday.

Russian artillery damaged homes, a school, a market and a food processing plant in the southern city of Kherson that is near the front lines of the war, officials said.

In fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast, the Russian army dropped five aerial bombs on Robotyne, a town Ukraine took in August in its slow-moving counteroffensive.