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Ukraine mentioned a barrage of missiles it rained down on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in occupied Crimea, final week killed quite a few high-ranking Russian army officers — together with the fleet’s commander, Adm. Viktor Sokolov.

In refutation of that declare, Russia’s Protection Ministry on Tuesday launched footage that appeared to indicate Sokolov alive, attending by video hyperlink a gathering chaired by Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The Washington Put up didn’t detect any indicators of apparent manipulation within the video however couldn’t independently confirm its authenticity.

In response to the video, Ukraine’s particular operations forces launched an announcement saying that 34 Russian officers had been killed on account of the strike however that it could search extra details about whether or not Sokolov was amongst them.

“Because the Russians had been urgently compelled to publish a solution with an apparently alive Sokolov, our models are clarifying the data,” the assertion, posted on Telegram, continued. The Kremlin had at first declined to touch upon whether or not Sokolov was alive or lifeless, saying all such data ought to come from the Protection Ministry.

Ukraine’s Essential Directorate of Intelligence, its prime spy company, declined to remark.

Within the unverified video launched by Russia’s Protection Ministry, Sokolov is proven in uniform, however he doesn’t communicate.

A digital clock within the video shows a time simply previous 11 a.m. on Sept. 26.

Past the destiny of Sokolov, Ukraine’s Sept. 22 strike on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol has been the topic of competing claims by Kyiv and Moscow. Russia initially mentioned its air defenses had downed all of the missiles fired on the website.

Ukrainian officers mocked these claims, whereas a video posted to social media on the day of the strike, verified by Storyful and confirmed by The Put up, confirmed smoke rising from the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet.

Industrial satellite tv for pc imagery additionally confirmed giant quantities of smoke coming from close to the headquarters after the strikes.

The success of the strike on Sevastopol is an embarrassing failure for Russian air defenses. After the autumn of the Soviet Union, Russia maintained its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol underneath a lease settlement with the newly unbiased Ukraine. In 2014, Russia invaded and illegally annexed the peninsula.

After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in 2022, Crimea emerged as a key army staging floor. Ukraine has made recapturing it a prime goal of the battle, with some officers arguing that the nation might by no means be secure with in Russian management.

Ukraine has made a lot of vital assaults on Crimea over latest months, typically focusing on the Black Sea Fleet.

Rumors of Sokolov’s demise had circulated on-line amongst pro-Ukrainian forces shortly after the strike. In an interview with the Ukrainian-language service of Voice of America, a broadcaster owned by the U.S. authorities, Ukrainian army intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov declined to substantiate the reviews about Sokolov’s demise.

Nevertheless, he did say that a number of Russian army leaders had been injured within the strike. One, Colonel Normal Alexander Romanchuk, was in a “very critical situation,” in line with Budanov.

Romanchuk, former head of a prestigious army academy in Moscow, is a key determine within the Russian protection of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive within the southern area of Zaporizhzhia.

On Monday, Ukraine’s particular operations forces wrote on Telegram that the strike on Sevastopol had killed Sokolov and 33 different officers. In a report that night, the Washington-based Institute for the Research of Struggle mentioned it couldn’t see any affirmation of the information however added that “Russian command would have the ability to simply disprove Ukrainian reporting if these reviews are false.”

“Sokolov’s and different Russian officers’ reported deaths would create vital disruptions in command and management within the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” the report continued.

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

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