Russia’s annual Navy Day has been celebrated in lavish style in the Ukrainian resort of Sevastopol – in a show likely to annoy many who are suspicious of the country’s rapprochement with Moscow.
Nearly 15,000 gathered to watch the celebrations. The speaker of the Russian Duma was there and promised to increase financing for the Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Crimea.
Critics of President Viktor Yanukovych, who is holidaying in the resort, bitterly contest his decision to allow the Russian Navy to extend its stay in Crimea until 2042.
They regard the Russian base as a hostile presence on Ukrainian soil. But in return for the deal, Moscow cut the price Kiev pays for Russian gas.
In line with tradition the Russian fleet and the Ukrainian navy jointly mounted a parade – before a military band signalled a change of key with some slightly more frivolous festivities on the quayside.