Smoke rises from the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Russia-occupied Crimea, following a Ukrainian missile strike, September 22, 2023

Monday’s Coverage: Russia Strikes Odesa in Latest Missile and Drone Attacks

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has neither confirmed nor denied earlier Ukrainian claims that Adm. Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was killed last Friday in a missile strike on Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Umerov told CNN:

He is in our temporarily-occupied territories….He should not be there at all. So, if he’s dead, it’s good news for everybody that we are continuing to de-occupy our territory.

After its claims on Sunday, Ukraine’s military stepped back today, saying it is clarifying the situation.


Norway’s government has announced 1 billion Krone ($92 million) in humanitarian support to Ukraine.

The government said the funding will help “ensure that the most vulnerable, children, refugees and internally displaced persons” receive vital assistance, such as “shelter, food, water and sanitation, education, health care and psychosocial support, as well as protection against sexualized and gender-based violence”.


The Russian Defense Ministry has released footage claiming to show Adm. Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, attending a Defense Board meeting via video call.

The Ukrainian military claimed on Monday that Sokolov was killed in last Friday’s missile strike on the Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.

In the video, Sokolov was shown participating in the conference with Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and other admirals and army commanders.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “There has been no information from the Ministry of Defense. This is entirely in their purview and we have nothing to say here.”


Polish experts have confirmed that the missile which killed two people at a grain facility in southern Poland in November was fired by Ukraine.

The Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported the finding.

At the time of the explosion, Poland and NATO said they believed the cause was a stray Ukrainian air defense missile.


The US and European Union have set a timetable for Ukraine’s reforms, to ensure continued military and financial assistance and Kyiv’s eventual accession to the EU.

Deputy White House National Security Adviser Mike Pyle set out the conditions in a letter to the Interagency Donor Coordination Platform — which includes the EU, G7 countries, and partners from financial institutions — and the offices of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The reforms are of supervisory boards of state-owned enterprises, anti-corruption agencies, and the High Council of Justice and the judiciary.

Within a year, Kyiv must reform the Defense Ministry, which has been beset by a series of scandals over food supplies for troops, leading to the departure of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in early September.

Provisions must be implemented within 18 months in law enforcement agencies, including the State Security Service SBU, the State Border Guard, and the National Police. Reforms are also required in the Office of the Prosecutor General and the customs service.


Six people were killed and 10 injured in Monday’s Russian shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

Most of the casualties were in the city of Beryslav, with a 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman among the fatalities.

Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported 93 attacks with 491 shells and a missile strike across the region.

In Beryslav, educational institutions and an office building were damaged. An administration building was struck in Khersonskyi, and a dormitory, educational institutions, pharmacies, and a market in Kherson city were destroyed.


The Ukraine military says Russia again attacked the ports in the Odesa region in the south of the country, firing 38 Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones.

The military said 26 were downed, but in Izmail, two people were injured and a port building, storage facilities and more than 30 trucks and cars were damaged in an attack which lasted more than two hours.

A Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine has damaged a business.

Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Kryvyi Rih Defense Council, said emergency services are on the site. No casualties are reported so far.

In the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, high-rise buildings and private houses were damaged. Two people were injured.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The Ukraine military says it killed 34 Russian officers, including Black Sea Fleet Commander Adm. Viktor Sokolov, in Friday’s missile strikes on the Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The military posted on Telegram:

After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored.

The statement also gave updated casualty figures for the September 13 strike on the landing ship Minsk, which was supposed to go on combat duty the next day in a a dry dock in Sevastopol. It said 62 Russian personnel had perished.

See also Ukraine War, Day 568: More Attacks on Russia’s Warships in Crimea

The head of Ukraine military intelligence, Kyrill Budanov, had said on Friday that at least nine Russia troops were killed and 16 wounded, including two high-ranking officers.

The Russian Defense Ministry has said only that one serviceman was missing.

Ukraine began strikes on Russian military headquarters, bases, oil and ammunition deports, warships, bridges and other positions last summer.

The attacks have escalated since the spring, including serious damage to the Kerch Bridge and other bridges to Crimea from Russia and Russian-occupied territory. Two landships — the Minsk and one at the Russian port of Novorossiysk — have been heavily damaged.

Friday’s strikes were carried out with UK- and France-supplied Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles. Video showed smoke rising from the headquarters as another missile dived towards the building.

Adm. Sokolov has served in the Russian navy since 1985. As a deputy commander in 2016, he led a detachment of the Northern Fleet in Russia’s intervention in Syria to prop up the Assad regime. He became head of a naval academy in January 2020, and took up command of the Black Sea Fleet in August 2022.

If confirmed, the deaths would be the greatest loss to the Russian Navy since a missile sank the Black Sea flagship Moskva in April 2022.

Ukrainian officials said hundreds of Russian sailors, including the Moskva’s captain, died. The Russian Defense Ministry only acknowledged 18 deaths.