MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet and one of Russia’s most senior naval officers, appeared in a video conference on Tuesday, a day after Ukrainian special forces said he had been killed.
Video and photos released by the Russian Defense Ministry showed Sokolov participating in a video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking admirals and military leaders.
The video was shown on Russian state television.
Ukraine’s special forces said on Monday that Moscow’s top admiral in Crimea was killed in a missile strike last week on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol, along with 33 officers.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the Defense Ministry.
In a video released by the ministry, Shoigu said more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in September and more than 2,700 weapons were destroyed, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles.
“Ukrainian armed forces are suffering heavy losses along the entire front line,” Shoigu said, adding that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has so far yielded no results.
“The United States and its allies continue to arm Ukraine’s armed forces, and the Kyiv regime is pushing untrained soldiers to slaughter in senseless attacks,” Shoigu said.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive against Russian forces, which control 17.5% of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory, has yet to yield significant territorial gains.
According to a Sept. 19 scorecard from the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Russia won In the past month, Ukrainian forces have captured 35 square miles of territory from Ukraine and 16 square miles from Russian forces.
Guy Falconbridge Report; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones
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