MOSCOW-Russia’s defence ministry on Tuesday published images showing the commander of its Black Sea fleet, one day after Ukraine claimed it had killed the high-ranking officer in a missile strike. Kyiv said it had killed 34 officers, including Admiral Viktor Sokolov, in an unprecedented strike last week on the fleet’s naval headquarters on the annexed Crimean peninsula.
Sokolov, in uniform, was show via video link taking part in a meeting that was presided over by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. A ministry statement said the meeting had taken place earlier in the day but did not name Sokolov. He also appeared on screen several times in an eight-minute video released by the ministry but was not shown speaking.
The Kremlin had told reporters moments before the ministry’s statement that it had “no information” regarding the status of the commander and deferred questions to the defence ministry. Later on Tuesday, Ukrainian special forces said they were “clarifying” details of the strike last week. “Many (killed officers) have not yet been identified because the body parts were scattered,” they said. “Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with Sokolov allegedly alive, our units are clarifying information,” it added.
The Kremlin had said on the day of the attack that one serviceman was missing, after having initially announced that one person died. The strike marked a major blow for Moscow, which has suffered a string of attacks on the strategically important port of Sevastopol in recent months. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 and is a key military and logistics hub for Moscow’s military.
RUSSIAN VILLAGES LOSE POWER
AFTER UKRAINE DRONE STRIKE
Several villages in Russia’s Kursk region bordering Ukraine lost power on Tuesday morning after a Ukrainian drone dropped explosives on an electricity substation, the region’s governor said.
Since Russia launched hostilities against Ukraine last year, Russian regions bordering Ukraine have repeatedly accused Kyiv’s forces of attacking civilian infrastructure, including the power grid. “In the morning, a Ukrainian drone dropped an explosive device on an electricity substation in the village of Snagost in Korenevsky District. Seven settlements were left without power,” Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit said. “None of the residents were injured. Emergency crews will start restoring power as soon as the situation allows,” he added. Snagost is a small village about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Ukrainian border. “We see that this practice of drone strikes against civilian infrastructure continues,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.