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Moscow shows footage of Black Sea Fleet chief Ukraine said was dead

Published September 26,2023
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (REUTERS File Photo)
Moscow has presented footage purporting to show Black Sea Fleet Commander Viktor Sokolov alive after Ukraine said he had been killed in one of its attacks.

Several photographs and a video released by the Russian Defence Ministry on Tuesday showed Sokolov attending an online meeting chaired by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. However, he can only be seen on a screen mounted behind Shoigu and no date is given.

Sokolov appears completely rigid in the short sequence. It was not possible to independently verify the pictures.

The Ukrainian military announced it had killed Sokolov last Friday during a drone and missile attack on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia. Kiev's attack severely damaged the headquarters of the fleet in Sevastopol and Ukraine said it had killed 34 officers.

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, spoke of only one missing person after the attack.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would not comment on questions from reporters about Sokolov. He had no information on the matter, which was the responsibility of the Defence Ministry, he said.