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Russia's Navy denied on Thursday media reports that a parade
Russia's Navy denied on Thursday media reports that a parade by the Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol in honor of its 225th anniversary has been cancelled.

"These reports are untrue," Navy spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said, adding that the parade in Sevastopol's main bay will go ahead as planned.

The parade featuring 30 warships, 10 auxiliary and support vessels, and a naval infantry unit will be held on May 11.

He said it would be followed by "a military and sporting festival," in the course of which warships will sail through the bay in a fixed order.

The official said delegations from various parts of Russia are now arriving at the Sevastopol base.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in the Crimea under a 1997 agreement allowing Russia to lease the base from its ex-Soviet neighbor for $93 million per year, which is paid for by Moscow with Russian energy supplies.

There have been frequent disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the lease of the base.

Last month, the head of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, Alexei Ostrovsky, said that Russia could reclaim the Crimea if Ukraine was admitted to NATO. Media reported that then-president Vladimir Putin issued a similar threat at a closed-door speech to NATO leaders at the Bucharest summit earlier in April.


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