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Russian admiral reportedly killed in Ukrainian attack shows up on TV, prompts 'Weekend at Bernie's' speculation

Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

A Russian admiral Ukrainian forces listed among the 33 officers killed in an attack on a Black Sea navy base over the weekend showed up on a video conference call attended by Russia’s top military brass.

But still and brief footage of Adm. Viktor Sokolov, seemingly seated with a pillow behind his head, is prompting discussion over whether Ukrainian officials exaggerated the success of their strike — or Russia is pulling a “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday an attack on their heavily fortified base in Crimea caused damage, but didn’t address claims Sokolov was dead, according to NBC News. Footage of a military meeting on Russian state television clearly featured a small image of the admiral on a large screen. He was motionless and didn’t speak.

Politico later reported Sokolov appeared “alive and well” in subsequent images that seem to further make that case.

The Daily Beast reported the admiral was “propped up against a pillow” and that his eyes appeared “closed behind his glasses.” The publication also said images later released showed Sokolov with his eyes open, but suggested the pillow showed he might be in a hospital bed somewhere.


It’s unclear when the video or photos making the rounds in recent days were taken.

The Kremlin is famously loose with facts when it comes to advancing its interests. Ukraine has also been accused of favoring information beneficial to its cause.

Ukrainian officials clarified Tuesday they hadn’t confirmed Sokolov was killed in their missile strike on Russian naval officers.


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