Russian ships were still launching strikes on Ukraine following the alleged death of the commander of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet, but those attacks are being launched “by inertia,” Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy, said Monday on national television.
Pletenchuk was asked about comments made by Ukrainian authorities earlier Monday, claiming that Adm. Viktor Sokolov, as well as 33 other officers were killed in Friday’s attack in Sevastopol.
Pletenchuk said Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not control the actual operation of ships at sea,” and relies on his admirals who know “their means and forces, personnel, how to manage them, how to better deploy them. And they can also keep things from [Putin], not report on certain issues.”
“At this moment, [the Russian Navy] lost the person who actually manages all of this, and his staff, who manages the fleet together with him,” Pletenchuk claimed. “This is a large grouping that requires a great number of managers to run all the processes to make [the fleet] work as a single mechanism. Imagine that the core part of this mechanism becomes inoperable.”
Pletenchuk added: “Yes, last night [Russian ships in the Black Sea] were still launching strikes by inertia,” but he compared the operations to “a chicken running around without a head.”
“Therefore, as of now, [the Russian navy] will have respective problems with the control of the troops,” he said.
Earlier Monday, the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said Sokolov was killed in Sevastopol on Friday, in perhaps the most daring attack by Ukrainian forces on Crimea so far.
“Eliminated during a strike on the headquarters in Sevastopol Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Admiral Sokolov,” said Col. Vladislav Nazarov, spokesperson for the Operational Command South.
CNN cannot independently confirm Ukraine’s claims about Sokolov and the rest of the casualties in Sevastopol. CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.