A senior official in Russia’s Crimea on Sunday accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone attack ahead of planned celebrations to mark Navy Day, injuring five and forcing the cancellation of the festivities.
The charge comes hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to oversee Navy Day celebrations in his hometown of St. Petersburg and endorse Russian naval doctrine as Moscow continues its military intervention in Ukraine, said Reuters.
“An unidentified object flew into the courtyard of the fleet headquarters,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, governor of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
“According to initial information, it is a drone.” He said Ukraine had decided to “spoil Navy Day for us”.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Razvozhayev said five Fleet Headquarters employees were injured in the incident and the Federal Security Service (FSB) is investigating his circumstances.
“All celebrations have been canceled for security reasons,” Razvozhayev said. “Please stay calm and stay home if possible.”
Navy Day is an annual Russian holiday when its fleets hold naval parades and honor its sailors.
Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in March 2014, sparking a major row with the West that escalated over Moscow’s role in an insurgency by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.