Ukraine says it launched its missile strike on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet to coincide with a meeting of Russian naval officers

  • Ukraine said it timed its strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet to a meeting of the fleet's leadership.

  • The strike killed 34 officers, including the fleet's admiral, Special Operations Forces of Ukraine said.

  • Ukraine has been ramping up its attacks on the fleet in occupied Crimea, damaging Russian ships.

Ukraine said it planned its strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters to coincide with a meeting of Russia's naval leadership.

A Ukrainian missile hit the fleet's headquarters in the city of Sevastopol, on the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula, on Friday.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Saturday that, due to work by its Special Operations Forces, it was able to hit the headquarters during a meeting of the fleet's command.

It said dozens of Russians were injured and killed, including senior personnel.

Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, told Voice Of America on Saturday that the attack killed at least nine people, and that 16 people, including Russian generals, were injured.

Budanov said one of the injured was Colonel General Alexander Romanchuk, the general in charge of Russian forces in Zaporizhzhia.

However, he refused to confirm the rumored death of Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

But on Monday, the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine said in a post on Telegram that 34 officers were killed in the strike, including Sokolov, according to Ukrainian media.

Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, wrote on social media platform X on Friday that "Romanchuk is in charge of Russian forces in Zaporizhzhia where the main thrust of Ukraine's counteroffensive is occurring. This suggests that it wasn't just a strike on the Black Sea Fleet HQ, but timed to target key senior leaders during a meeting."

Ukraine has seemingly now confirmed this.

Russia acknowledged the attack but said that only one serviceman was missing.

In its statement, Ukraine's general staff said that more details about the operation would be made public in the future, when it's possible to do so.

The attack on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters is the latest in a series of attacks on Crimea and Russia's naval presence there.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, in a move not recognized by most of the world.

Ukraine has vowed to take back the peninsula as part of its efforts to end Russia's full-scale invasion of the country, which was launched in February 2022.

In recent months Ukraine has ramped up its attacks on Russia's military and its fleet in the region, including using maritime attack drones against warships and targeting a naval shipyard.

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