An alleged Ukrainian drone attack canceled Russia’s Navy Day celebrations at its Black Sea Fleet headquarters in annexed Crimea’s port city of Sevastopol, according to state-run TASS, reporting Sunday. At least five people were reportedly injured in the attack (six, according to the Associated Press). An official in Kyiv mocked Russian defenses after the attack, writing on Telegram, “Did the occupiers admit the helplessness of their air defense system? Or their helplessness in front of the Crimean partisans?”
Russia’s Navy Day celebrations in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol have been canceled following a drone attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, Sevastopol’s Kremlin-installed governor, said on July 31 that six of the headquarters’ employees had been injured in the incident, and wrote on Telegram that festivities scheduled for the Russian holiday had been “canceled for security reasons.” No fatalities were reported.
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, citing Crimean and Russian media, reported that roads leading up to the headquarters building had been blocked and the center of Sevastopol closed off.
The Russian Federal Security Service has reportedly launched an investigation. Razvozhayev wrote in his Telegram post that he suspected the drone was launched by Ukraine, and the Black Sea Fleet reported that the attack was carried out by a makeshift drone fitted with a low-powered explosive device.
Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Odesa military region, denied that Kyiv was behind the incident, dismissing the suggestion as “sheer provocation.”
“Our liberation of Crimea from the occupiers will be carried out in another way and much more effectively,” he wrote on Telegram on July 31.
Russia’s RIA-Novosti news agency later quoted Olga Kovitidi, a Russian lawmaker from Crimea, as saying the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself and that the incident was being treated as a “terrorist act.”
Sevastopol, Crimea’s largest city, is a major port in the peninsula’s southwest that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Along with the rest of the peninsula, which was forcibly annexed by Russia in 2014, Sevastopol is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.