(Reuters) – A senior official in Crimea, which links Russia to Ukraine, was accused on Sunday of carrying out a drone attack ahead of scheduled celebrations for Navy Day, injuring five and forcing them to cancel the festivities.
The accusation comes hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin is to oversee Navy Day celebrations in his hometown of St Petersburg and approve Russian naval doctrine as Moscow continues its military intervention in Ukraine.
“An unknown object flew into the yard of the headquarters of the fleet,” Mikhail Razovugayev, governor of Sevastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
According to preliminary information, it is an unmanned aircraft.
He said Ukraine had decided to “spoil the Navy Day for us”.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Razvogayev said that five employees of the fleet headquarters were injured in the accident and that the Federal Security Service (FSB) was investigating the circumstances.
“All celebrations have been canceled for security reasons,” Razovugayev said. “Please stay calm and stay home if possible.”
Navy Day is an annual Russian holiday during which its fleets hold naval parades and honor their sailors.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, sparking a major rift with the West that deepened over Moscow’s role in the pro-Russian separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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