18 April, 2024
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Russian video suggests Black Sea commander still alive

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One of Russia’s most senior navy officers has been shown attending a video conference, a day after Ukrainian special forces said they had killed him.

In video and photographs released by the Russian defence ministry, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Viktor Sokolov was shown apparently taking part in a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other top admirals and army chiefs.

Ukraine’s special forces said on Monday they had killed 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 declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the defence ministry.

In the video released by the ministry on Tuesday, Shoigu said that more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2700 weapons, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles, had been destroyed.

“The Ukrainian armed forces are suffering serious losses along the entire front line,” 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,” Shoigu said.

Ukraine’s counter-offensive has yet to yield significant territorial gains against Russian forces, which control about 17.5 per cent of the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine.

According to a September 19 scorecard by the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Russia has gained 56 square kilometres of territory from Ukraine in the past month while Ukrainian forces have taken 26 square kilometres from Russian forces.

-Reuters

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