Russian warships continued to launch attacks against Ukraine following kyiv’s claim that commander of the Moscow Black Sea Fleet was killed on Friday, as President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the arrival of American Abrams tanks in the country.
A Ukrainian navy spokesman said on national television Monday that, while Russia was still launching attacks from the Black Sea, he compared the operations to “a chicken running around without a head.”
“Right now, they (the Russian Navy) lost the person who actually manages all this, and his staff, who manages the fleet together with him. This is a large cluster that requires a large number of managers to run all the processes so that it (the fleet) works as a single mechanism. Let’s imagine that the central part of this mechanism stops working,” said Ukrainian navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk.
Pletenchuk said Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not control the actual operation of ships at sea” and trusts his admirals who know “their means and forces, their personnel, how to manage them, how to best deploy them.”
“Therefore, from now on they will have respective problems with the control of the troops,” he stated.
Pletenchuk’s comments came after Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces claimed that Russian Admiral Viktor Sokolov, as well as 33 other officers, were killed in the attack on Black Sea headquarters in Sevastopol on Friday, in perhaps the most audacious attack by Ukrainian forces on the occupied Crimean peninsula yet.
More than 100 Russian servicemen were wounded in the special operation called “Crab Trap,” which was timed to strike while senior members of the Russian Navy were meeting, Special Operations Forces said.
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov, during a farewell ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, September 27, 2022.
CNN cannot independently confirm Ukraine’s claims about Solokov or the number of victims. CNN has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
Moscow has said that a serviceman is missing as a result of Ukraine’s attack on Sevastopol.
Ukraine has been increasingly attacking strategic Russian targets in Crimea, the Black Sea region in southern Ukraine that has been occupied by Moscow since 2014. Ukraine has not given up hope of taking it back.
Ukrainian Defense Intelligence spokesman Andrii Yusov said Russia was using Crimea as a “logistical hub” and that “the ultimate goal, of course, is the deoccupation of Ukrainian Crimea.”
Sargeant. Matthew A. Foster/U.S. Army National Guard
An M1A1 Abrams tank during a training exercise in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, Nov. 25, 2022.
Western arms supplies have played a key role in helping the vastly outgunned Ukrainian forces defend themselves against Russian attacks, as well as carry out their own longer-range attacks beyond the front lines.
That has angered Moscow, and over the weekend Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States and other countries of being “directly at war with us.”
In the latest arrival of key weaponry, the first batch of US Abrams tanks has arrived in Ukraine, the Pentagon and Zelensky confirmed on Monday.
“The mere presence of Abrams tanks serves as a powerful deterrent. By having these tanks in its arsenal, the Ukrainian military can more effectively deter aggressive actions,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz said Monday.
The tanks are a long-awaited capability for Ukraine and add a powerful land component to troops that have already endured more than a year and a half of war.
President Zelensky said tanks were “preparing to reinforce our brigades.”
The United States began training Ukrainian forces on how to operate tanks in May in Germany. The 31 tanks destined for Ukraine had been undergoing refurbishment and preparation for shipment for several months, and were officially approved to be transferred last month.
Following the Ukrainian attack on Sevestopol on Friday, a wave of Russian attacks hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa overnight on Monday and Tuesday, Ukrainian officials said.
Attack drones struck Odessa for more than two hours in the early hours of Tuesday, attacking port infrastructure in the Izmail district, according to Oleh Kiper, head of Ukraine’s Odessa regional military administration.
It comes a day after Russian strikes killed at least two people and caused “significant damage” to the city, Kiper said. One of the victims was found under the rubble of a warehouse where grain was stored, he said.
Ukraine’s military alleged that Russia’s attack on Odessa was a violation of international humanitarian law as it targeted both troops and civilian infrastructure, including energy supplies. The defense forces also said the attack was a “pathetic attempt at retaliation” for the attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters.
Monday’s attack damaged the city’s port and electrical infrastructure, as well as granaries, warehouses and several private homes in the city’s suburbs, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said.
Ukraine’s energy minister said on Monday that around 1,000 consumers were without electricity and that a “large-scale repair campaign” was underway.
Russian forces used drones, hypersonic missiles, cruise missiles and an Iranian-made submarine in the assault, Ukraine’s defense forces said. 19 drones and 11 missiles were shot down.
Remnants of downed weapons damaged some warehouses and private homes, while barns were damaged by the hypersonic missile attack.
Odessa Regional Prosecutor’s Office/Reuters
This image released on September 25 shows a building damaged after a Russian military attack in Odessa, Ukraine.
When asked to comment on the Odessa attacks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov directed questions to the Russian Defense Ministry to discuss “specific military operations.”
Moscow’s forces have repeatedly attacked the southern port following the collapse of the Black Sea Grains Agreement In July, that allowed Ukrainian ships to bypass the Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and safely navigate the waterway to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait to reach global markets.
Many of the world’s poorest nations rely heavily on Ukrainian grain and Russia has been accused of weaponizing the threat of global hunger during the war against its neighbor.
Russian forces also bombarded the nearby Kherson region – a major shipbuilding industry along the Black Sea – with strikes that killed at least six people and wounded five on Monday, Ukrainian officials said.
A 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman were among the dead after Russian forces dropped four bombs on the southern Ukrainian city of Beryslav, according to Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson regional military administration.
Over the past day, Russian forces launched 87 attacks in the Kherson region, Prokudin said, striking residential areas, medical buildings, educational institutions and critical infrastructure.
Civilians have fled intense Russian bombing and only a quarter of the population remains in Beryslav, according to Prokudin.
“Over the last two weeks, almost 100 children and their families have left the dangerous coastal communities” of the Kherson region, he said.