Russia's Black Sea Fleet Headquarters Demolished and Commanding Admiral Presumed Dead

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A volley of Ukrainian cruise missiles demolished the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in Occupied Crimea. The strategic communications directorate of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the attack that took place around noon Sevastopol time this way on social media:

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The Black Sea Fleet headquarters controls Russian naval operations in the Black Sea. It used to be a sleepy backwater but now with Putin's War in Ukraine, it is at the center of action. Ships from the Black Sea Fleet, particularly its main base in Sevastopol, are actively involved in attempting to enforce Russia's porous naval blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments as well as launching cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine.

Fleet Headquarters was struck by two or three cruise missile, either British Storm Shadow (Putin’s War, Week 63. Chechens Replace Wagner in Bakhmut, Storm Shadow Arrives, and Russia Says ‘Family Guy’ Is a Meany-Pants) or French SCALP-EG (Putin's War, Week 72. Ukraine Misses NATO Membership but Still Wins and Ground Combat Gains ). In this video you can see one of them on short final.

There are reports of several high-ranking officers killed or injured in the attack. Unofficially, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, was among the dead.

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To understand how we got here, you need to look at Ukrainian military operations over the last two or three weeks. A little over a week ago, Ukrainian cruise missiles and unmanned surface vehicles destroyed two Russian warships, a submarine and a landing ship, and an antiaircraft patrol vessel was damaged  while underway (see  Ukrainian Attack on Russian Fleet Leaves One Ship and One Sub Destroyed With No Nuclear War and Putin's War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa). That attack had been set up by a commando raid on a radar and antiaircraft site in Crimea that punched a hole in the air defense belt surrounding Sevastopol. Other antiaircraft sites have been hit in the last two weeks; see Putin's War, Week 81,and Putin's War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa. Last week, an S-400 antiaircraft missile battery covering downtown Sevastopol, the location of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, was taken out. 

These attacks opened a corridor for Ukrainian strike aircraft to get very close to Crimea before launching their missiles.

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More intriguing today that when I posted the update yesterday (Putin's War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa) is this item:

There are claims that the strike at the Navy command post at Verkhnosadove was intended to create the maximum density at the main headquarters.

The strike on the Black Sea Fleet's ships and now this attack on its headquarters is going to have the Russian fleet looking over their shoulders for a while.

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