Russia celebrated its de facto annexation of Crimea by holding its annual Navy Day celebration in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol on Sunday.
Navy Day is a national holiday in Russia typically held on the last Sunday of July. The holiday originated with the Soviet Union, which first celebrated Navy Day in June 1939. Ukraine has also celebrated Navy Day on the last Sunday in July since 2012, when it held a joint celebration with Russia.
The Navy Days in both countries are linked to the Battle of Gangut, which occurred on Aug. 7, 1714. The battle was the first major victory of the Imperial Russian Navy against the Swedish Navy.
This year, Ukraine had to shift its celebration to the city of Odessa.
We have highlighted some pictures of the Sevastopol celebration below.
Navy Day is a Russian national holiday.
Each major Russian port also hosted parades of ships and naval demonstrations.
The celebrations included firing exercises.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials marked the day by visiting bases throughout the country and pledging to continue to build Russia’s navy.
Putin said that the strengthening of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea, was one of the country’s top priorities.
Russia and Ukraine are locked in an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is arming pro-Moscow separatists.
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