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Russia replaces Black Sea Fleet commander post Tsezar Kunikov destruction: British intelligence

Russia replaces Black Sea Fleet commander post Tsezar Kunikov destruction: British intelligence Photo: Russia dismissed the commander of the Black Sea Fleet after the destruction of Tsezar Kunikov (Russian media)

Likely, the Russian Federation has relieved Admiral Viktor Sokolov from his position as commander of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF) following the destruction of the landing ship Tsezar Kunikov, according to British intelligence.

On February 15, as reported by intelligence, Russian military commentators stated that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, had been relieved of his position.

"Drawing similarities with his predecessor, Igor Osipov, this is highly likely to be a result of Ukraine's success in sinking various ships under his command. Sokolov's leadership style may have also played a role in his dismissal," intelligence writes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense of Russia has not officially confirmed the information about the resignation.

Presumably, Sokolov has been replaced by Vice Admiral Sergiy Pinchuk, who will serve as acting commander of the Black Sea Fleet until the completion of the internal investigation into the sinking of the Tsezar Kunikov.

Destruction of the Russian ship Tsezar Kunikov

On February 14, explosions were heard in the vicinity of Alupka. Russians deployed their helicopters, and footage of smoke in the sea circulated online. The Russian Ministry of Defense, as usual, claimed to have repelled a drone attack.

Later, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that a large landing ship of the occupiers, Tsezar Kunikov, was destroyed near the coast of temporarily occupied Crimea. At the time of the attack, the ship was in Ukrainian territorial waters near Alupka.

The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine showcased a video of the sinking of the Russian landing ship, noting that it was attacked by the Magura V5 naval drones.

Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, stated that most of the crew of the Russian landing ship Tsezar Kunikov, which was destroyed in the Black Sea, didn't manage to save.

For more information about the Tsezar Kunikov ship, read this article.

Strike on the Black Sea Fleet

On September 22, 2023, a missile strike was launched on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. According to Special Operations Forces data, 34 officers were killed in the strike, including Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The Russian Ministry of Defense later released a video allegedly showing the admiral alive, participating in a board meeting. Officially, Sokolov's death has not been confirmed.