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Russia accuses West of facilitating missile attack on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters

On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine’s Western allies of facilitating last week’s missile strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Crimea.

Unconfirmed news reports said Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the UK and France were used in the attack on the headquarters. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing:

There is no doubt that the attack had been planned in advance using Western intelligence means, NATO satellite assets and reconnaissance planes and was implemented upon the advice of American and British security agencies and in close coordination with them.

The accusations came after the publication of a new video showing that fleet commander Admiral Viktor Sokolov survived despite numerous Ukrainian claims (but unsupported by evidence) that he was among 34 officers killed in Friday’s strike on the port city of Sevastopol.

Ukraine’s Special Operation Forces posted a statement Tuesday saying its sources claimed that Sokolov was among the dead, many of whom hadn’t yet been identified. It said it was trying to verify the claim after the video surfaced.

Kremlin officials have not commented on Sokolov’s situation, but on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry published a video showing him among other senior officers participating in a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Sokolov had taken part in the conference with Shoigu but did not give any other comments.

Russian state TV channels broadcast Sokolov speaking to journalists in Sevastopol on Wednesday after presenting awards to the Black Sea Fleet football team. The journalists asked Sokolov to comment on the latest developments, a reference to Ukraine’s claim that he was killed along with dozens of other officers in a missile attack on the fleet headquarters. Sokolov said:

What happened to us? Nothing happened to us. Life goes on. The Black Sea Fleet confidently and successfully carries out the tasks assigned to it by the command. Surface forces, submarine forces, naval aviation, and coastal troops are successfully completing tasks.

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