Ukrainian claims of killing the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet turned out to be greatly exaggerated. The following day, Admiral Viktor Sokolov appeared in a video meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other military officials.
The video released Tuesday along with photographs of the event were distributed by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Russian news agencies Tass and Interfax showed the proof of life, though neither revealed exactly when or where the images originated.
In response to the evidence, Ukraine’s special forces posted on social media Tuesday that it would clarify claims “regarding the destruction of the commander.”
Officials wrote on Telegram that Moscow rushed to show “a seemingly living Sokolov.” Therefore the unit would proceed with gathering information on the specific results of the military operation.
On Monday, Kyiv’s military leadership said its Friday strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol killed Sokolov and 33 other officers. Another 105 Russian personnel were reportedly injured.
🇷🇺 Yesterday, Ukraine claimed they killed Russia’s Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov.
Today, the ghost of Admiral Viktor Sokolov appeared in a video conference with Russian Defense Minister Shoigu. pic.twitter.com/dwaZGzxBNZ
— Jackson Hinkle 🇺🇸 (@jacksonhinklle) September 26, 2023
Ukrainian officials noted that some of the bodies were in pieces so they were still being identified.
Russian forces annexed Crimea in 2014. Most of the international community considered that action to be illegal, though Moscow lays historical claims to the region.
The new video did not feature Sokolov speaking to others.
Shoigu said on the video call that 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in fighting with Moscow’s forces in September. He further asserted that over 2,700 weapons, which included seven Bradley fighting vehicles provided by the U.S., had been destroyed.
The Russian defense minister blasted the U.S. and its allies for its unprecedented arming of Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Ukraine sends untrained soldiers to the battlefield where they are hurled into “senseless assaults” and are slaughtered, Shoigu declared. The much-publicized counteroffensive has yet to score solid gains for Ukraine.
According to the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Russian forces increased their control over 35 square miles of Ukrainian territory in the past month. By contrast Ukrainian forces have recaptured 16 square miles of land.
It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth. In this seemingly never-ended conflict between Ukraine and Russia, that wisdom is proved yet again.