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Ukraine war

Russian Black Sea commander shown working after Ukraine said it killed him

Russian Black Sea commander shown working after Ukraine said it killed him
A woman walks past a patriotic mural in the Black Sea resort Yalta, Crimea, 24 July 2023 (issued 31 July 2023). Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, shortly after Crimeans voted in a disputed referendum to secede from Ukraine. The area is also the base of the Russian Black Sea fleet, making it one of the targets of Ukrainian attacks. Despite the proximity to the conflict zone, Crimeans and foreign visitors flock to its coastal areas to enjoy beaches, resorts, vineyards, and summer entertainment. Russians can reach Sevastopol and other resort towns in Crimea via the Crimea Bridge or through Russian held territory in Ukraine, with a newly opened road crossing Mariupol, Melitopol and Dzhankoy. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet and one of Russia's most senior navy officers, was shown on Tuesday 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, Sokolov was shown apparently taking part in a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other top admirals and army chiefs.

The video was shown on Russian state television.

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 had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the defence ministry.

In the video released by the ministry, Shoigu said that more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 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% of the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine.

According to a Sept. 19 scorecard by the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Russia has gained 35 square miles of territory from Ukraine in the past month while Ukrainian forces have taken 16 square miles from Russian forces.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)

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