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11 May, 2008 15:32

Clashes mar Russia’s Black Sea fleet 225th anniversary

Russia's Black Sea fleet is celebrating its 225th anniversary on Sunday. The fleet is based in Ukraine until 2017, under a deal between Moscow and Kiev. A naval parade and a military display, held to mark the occasion, were followed by minor clashes betwe

Russia's Acting Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Commander-in-Chief of Russia's Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, as well as heads of the Russian regions acting as sponsors to battleships and units of the Black Sea Fleet, have arrived in Sevastopol to join the festivities.

On Sunday, the Black Sea Fleet command and guests laid flowers at Sevastopol's war memorial and the pantheon of renowned admirals of the Black Sea in Vladimirsky Cathedral.

Festivities will continue until May 13. It is on that day in 1789, that 11 ships of the Azov flotilla, commanded by Vice Admiral Fedot Kookachev sailed into Akhtiarskaya Bay, where one month later Sevastopol was founded upon a decree of Katherine II. It became the main base of the Russian fleet.

Ten people arrested

Ten people have been arrested in Sevastopol following clashes between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian supporters.

Dozens of activists from a Ukrainian right-wing party have picketed the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet.

They were met by a group of pro-Russian activists trying to prevent the demonstration. Police had to intervene between the two sides to prevent the clashes escalating.

The Fleet headquarters are now ringed by police to guard against further violence.