A screenshot from the Russian Defense Ministry of Adm. Viktor Sokolov, the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, claiming his attendance at a Defense Board meeting this week
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1125 GMT:
Ukraine air defenses downed 26 of 36 Iran-made “kamikaze” drones launched by Russia on Tuesday.
One drone struck the port of Izmail in the Odesa region, injuring two people and damaging infrastructure.
The Ukraine military said Russian forces fired 10 missiles and carried out 77 airstrikes and 44 shellings targeting Ukrainian troops and civilian infrastructure.
UPDATE 0840 GMT:
UN investigators have warned that rhetoric on Russian State media could support war crimes.
The head of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Erik Mose, told the UN Human Rights Council, “Some of the rhetoric transmitted in Russian state and other media may constitute incitement to genocide.”
He said the inquiry is “continuing its investigations on such issues”.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, once a respected economist, has appeared again on Russia State TV’s flagship propaganda program.
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) September 26, 2023
UPDATE 0829 GMT:
Continuing to deny that Black Sea Fleet Commander Adm. Viktor Sokolov was killed in a missile strike last Friday, Russia’s military has posted a short video interview with the admiral.
“The Black Sea Fleet carries out the tasks set by the command confidently and successfully,” Sokolov tells military outlet Zvezda.
UPDATE 0816 GMT:
Switzerland is selling back some of its German-made Leopard II tanks to Germany, enabling supply of armored vehicles by Berlin to Ukraine.
The move bypasses the Swiss prohibition on direct provision of military aid to any side, even one which has been aggressed, in a conflict.
Germany asked Switzerland in February to sell back some of the 96 Leopard II tanks in storage, delivering them to manufacturer Rheinmetall.
On Tuesday, the Swiss Parliament approved the decommissioning of 25 Leopard II tanks.
Berlin has given the assurance that the tanks will not go to Ukraine. However, they will ensured that German stocks are not depleted by other armor sent to Kyiv.
“We are very happy and grateful for this decision,” Michael Flügger, Germany’s Ambassador to Switzerland said. “We need these tanks. they will fill gaps with us and our European partners.”
UPDATE 0700 GMT:
Ukraine’s State security service SBU said on Tuesday that a drone attack hit a substation in Russia’s Kursk region, knocking out power to seven settlements.
The SBU said the strike on the village of Snagost was in response to Moscow’s ongoing targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure. An official commented:
The Russians must understand that if they continue to attack Ukrainian energy facilities, they will receive a tough response.
Our resources allow us to do that. So I really want the Russians to experience what blackouts, outages, and the search for generators are like.
UPDATE 0634 GMT:
Ukraine has sent a 47-page report to allies documenting the European components in Iran’s “kamikaze” drones used by Russia.
Kyiv said more than 600 UAV attacks, enabled by the components, have been carried out on cities in the past three months.
The Shahed-131 drone has 52 electrical components manufactured by western companies and the Shahed-136 has 57.
“Among the manufacturers are companies headquartered in the countries of the sanctions coalition: the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Japan, and Poland,” the report summarizes.
It names five European companies, including a Polish subsidiary of a British multinational.
The document indicates that the components are not being directly supplied by the companies, but are being obtained through other countries: “Almost all the imports to Iran originated from Turkey, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Costa Rica.”
Ukraine adds that Iran has diversified its production through a Syrian factory in the Russian port of Novorossiysk. Russian production lines are being developed in the central region of Alabuga, with Iran supplying the components.
Ukraine recommends “missile strikes on the production plants of these UAVs in Iran, Syria, as well as on a potential production site in the Russian Federation”. These “may be carried out by the Ukrainian defence forces if partners provide the necessary means of destruction”.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The fate of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Commander Adm. Viktor Sokolov is still uncertain, two days after the Ukrainian military said he and 33 other Russian officers were killed in a missile strike.
Monday’s military statement said the officers were slain, and 105 other personnel wounded, when the missiles struck the Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea last Friday.
The Russian Defense Ministry countered on Tuesday with footage claiming to show Sokolov in attendance at a Defense Board meeting via video call.
Sokolov did not speak as Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu addressed other admirals and army commanders.
After the distribution of the video, the Ukrainian military said it was “clarifying” the situation with a review of further evidence.
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov later avoided either confirmation or denial of the killing. He 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.