Russian Navy top admiral shakeup follows new defeat in Black Sea

Kremlin-connected Russian Telegram channels reported on Thursday that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, has been relieved of his duties.

According to the “Rybar” channel, closely associated with the Russian Ministry of Defense, Sokolov, who assumed command of the fleet in the autumn of 2022, has been replaced by a “chief of staff” Vice Admiral Sergey Pinchuk.

Alex Returns, another Telegram channel, also reported on Sokolov’s dismissal and the appointment of 53-year-old Pinchuk, a native of Sevastopol, who has been under personal sanctions from the European Union since February 2022.

Sokolov held the position since August 14, 2022, succeeding Admiral Igor Osipov. Under Osipov’s command, the Russian Black Sea Fleet lost its flagship, the huge missile cruiser “Moskva,” and failed to maintain control over the north-western waters of the Black Sea.

News of the change in command comes a day after another large landing ship was destroyed in the Black Sea by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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