Russian Navy parade to take place in Sevastopol
Russian and Ukrainian sailors will celebrate the Russian Black Sea Fleet jubilee together, the press service of Sevastopol administration head Sergei Kunitsyn told Itar-Tass on Saturday. Kunitsyn himself said that he was glad to inform that all the problem issues connected with Russian fleet jubilee celebration were removed. A naval parade of Black Sea Fleet ships will take place in the Sevastopol bay on Sunday, but there will be no movement of armoured personnel carriers, he said. Russian and Ukrainian sailors will mark the 225th anniversary of the Russian Black Sea Fleet together, the administration head said. On May 6, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Sevastopol administration came out against celebration of the Russian fleet jubilee, suggesting that the celebration format should be limited to the places of deployment of ships and Russian naval units.
Black Sea Fleet Paraded Close to Sevastopol
The 225th anniversary of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was marked all hurdles of preparatory stage notwithstanding. The event that was attended by Acting Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov began by the joint parade of Russia’s and Ukrainian vessels and ended by scuffle between Ukrainian nationalists and activists of pro-Russian associations of Crimea. May 13 is marked as the creation day of the Black Sea Fleet. Exactly on that day, the Azov Fleet of Russia entered Crimea’s Akhti-Yar bay 225 years ago. This year’s festivities had been planned for three days – the celebration began yesterday and will end tomorrow, the arrangers hope.
But Sunday was obviously the main day of the program. Thirty warships and about ten service ships jointly paraded in the Sevastopol bay. The participation of Ukraine was symbolic, that state was represented only by Konstantin Olshansky amphibious ship and Balta demagnetization ship. The flagship of Ukrainian fleet, Hetman Sagaidachny destroyer leader was also to take part in the parade but that vessel left Sevastopol Saturday to joint the counter-terror effort of NATO in the Mediterranean Sea. Ukraine’s Acting First Defense Minister Valery Ivashchenko, Deputy Chief of General Staff Igor Knyaz and Navy Commander Igor Tenyukh saw off that ship.
The same trio saluted the joint parade yesterday together with Russia’s Acting Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky and Black Sea Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Alexander Kletskov. The Russians pretended that the absence of Ukrainian flagship and its participation in the exercise of potential enemy didn’t cloud the celebration. Disembarkation of combat infantry vehicles had been planned as the most spectacular scene of festivities. But the arrangers had to drop that section of the program, as Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stepped in to oppose the appearance of Russia’s combat hardware in the city. In general, Russia’s diplomats had to take pains so that the Black Sea marines could show the power of Russia’s weapons to Sevastopol residents.
About 100,000 for indefinite presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol
More than 100,000 residents of the Crimea have put their signatures under a call for indefinite presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, spokesman for the Crimean committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party Yuri Aksyutin told Tass on Monday. The signature campaign began on May 2 during a May Day meeting of WWII veterans and representatives of guerrilla movement in the Crimea. "The Communist Party intends to collect around two million signatures in support of the Russian Black Sea fleet being based in Sevastopol eternally," Aksyutin said. Nevertheless, leaders of the Ukrainian pro-presidential parties have declared that the collection of signatures continuing in the Crimea has "no juridical force."