Ukraine on Monday formally claimed that Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Sokolov was killed in a strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.
In all 34 officers were slain in the Storm Shadow attack in occupied Crimea, according to the Kyivarmy’s special operations force.
As many as 105 were wounded.
The Ukrainian statement said: “After the defeat of the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored.”
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief previously claimed that commanders Colonel-General Alexander Romanchuk Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Oleg Tsekov were wounded in the strike.
He did not make a claim about Sokolov - but Ukraine is now certain he was killed, making him one of President Putin’s most senior commanders to be killed in the war - and the first Admiral.
Moscow imposed a news blackout after the strike on Friday, a move indicating that the consequences had been serious, but has not confirmed Sokolov’s death. The Standard is unable to independently verify Ukraine’s claims he has been killed.
An earlier attack on the large Minsk landing ship in Sevastopol led to the “irreversible losses” of 62 on board the vessel in dock ahead of a deployment, Ukraine’s army said.
A £250 million submarine was also hit - the Rostov-on-Don.
Separately, it has been confirmed on Monday that Russia suffered another setback involving senior officers in an attack on an air base near Kursk.
The airbase houses MiG-29SMT and Su-30SM warplanes.
The commander of the base and other senior officers were examining an unexploded kamikaze drone that hit the Khalino base. As they did so it exploded.
One source said: “We have bad news in Khalino. There are both [killed] and [wounded]. A UAV arrived, but it fell into some container and did not explode.
“When the commander, political officer, and several other people arrived at this place, they began to inspect and an explosion occurred.
“The commander was in a very serious condition in hospital. Two died.”