On Sunday, a top official in Russian-annexed Crimea accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone strike before of planned Navy Day celebrations, wounding five people and forcing the postponement of the festivities.
The charge comes just hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to preside over Navy Day celebrations in his hometown of St Petersburg and ratify Russia’s naval doctrine as Moscow continues its military operation in Ukraine.
“An unidentified object flew into the courtyard of the navy’s headquarters,” said Mikhail Razvozhayev, governor of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, on Telegram.
“Based on preliminary evidence, it appears to be a drone.”
Ukraine, he claimed, had determined to “sabotage Navy Day for us.”
The Ukrainian defense ministry did not reply quickly to a request for comment.
According to Razvozhayev, five personnel of the fleet headquarters were hurt in the event, and the Federal Security Service (FSB) is examining the facts.
“All celebrations have been canceled due to security concerns,” Razvozhayev explained. “Please be calm and, if possible, stay at home.”
Navy Day is an annual Russian festival in which the country’s fleets hold naval parades to honor its sailors.
Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, igniting a significant dispute with the West over Moscow’s support in a pro-Russian separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.