Putin’s top Black Sea Admiral ‘comes back from dead’ despite Kyiv claims

After widespread reports of his death in a Storm Shadow missile strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, appeared before officials at the Russian Defence Ministry.

It is unclear whether the video stream with the Commander was live or a pre-recorded appearance.

The missile strike that blasted the Crimean headquarters of Russia’s navy last week killed 34 officers, including the fleet commander, Ukraine said Monday, though it provided no evidence to support its claim.

Ukraine’s Special Operation Forces said on the Telegram messaging app that its strike on the main building of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol had wounded 105 people.

The claims could not independently be verified and are vastly different from what Russia has reported.

Russia’s military announced the attack on the building and initially said one serviceman was killed but later said the person was not killed but missing.

Moscow has provided no further updates.

On Monday evening, Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said Russian air defences shot down a missile in the vicinity of the military airfield in Belbek, a village near the port city.

He didn’t offer any details about possible damage or casualties.

The new Ukrainian report indicates that the fleet’s chief, Adm. Viktor Sokolov, was also killed, though no supporting evidence was offered. He was not named in the statement by the Special Operation Forces, but Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine posted his name and a photo on social media.

Ukraine’s military also offered more details about Friday’s attack.

It said the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons were concentrated. It said that two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian artillery units were hit.