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Head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet dismissed, media claim

Thursday, 15 February 2024, 14:58
Head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet dismissed, media claim
Viktor Sokolov. Photo: RG.RU

Anonymous pro-Russian Telegram channels claim that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, has been dismissed following the sinking of the landing ship Tsezar Kunikov on 14 February.

Source: Krym.Realii (Crimea.Realities, a project by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) and The Insider, citing anonymous Telegram channels; Ukrainska Pravda, citing Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence (DIU).

Details: Pro-Russian Telegram channels and Russian military correspondents claim that Sokolov has been dismissed from his position. His former deputy and chief of staff of the Black Sea Fleet, Vice-Admiral Sergey Pinchuk, will now perform his duties.


In September 2023, the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine reported that Sokolov had been killed as a result of a strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. However, a source in Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence said to Ukrainska Pravda that there was no confirmed information about Sokolov's death.

For reference: Igor Osipov, the predecessor of Sokolov, was reportedly dismissed from his position immediately after the sinking of the Moskva cruiser in April 2022, as claimed by the media. On 10 August 2022, it was officially announced that Sokolov would replace him.


  • On the morning of 14 February 2024, explosions from the sea were heard in Russian-occupied Crimea, especially in Yalta, Miskhor, Alupka and Simeiz. Media reported that a large landing ship was attacked near Miskhor, and the Russians sent another ship and Mi-8 and Ka-27 helicopters for rescue operations. The Russian Ministry of Defence only reported the interception of six drones over the sea.
  • Sources of Ukrainska Pravda in Defence Intelligence of Ukraine reported that DIU’s drones struck the large Russian landing ship Tsezar Kunikov in the Black Sea. Later, DIU officially reported that the warship was sunk by Magura V5 maritime drones and released a video.
  • Later, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed reports of the destruction of the Tsezar Kunikov, a large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, that was in Ukrainian territorial waters near Alupka.
  • Now that the Tsezar Kunikov has been sunk, only 5 of the 13 ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet remain in service.

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