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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Navy Day: 5 Sailors Badly Hurt

At least five drunken sailors were hospitalized with injuries from fights during celebrations of Navy Day, Interfax reported, three days ahead of similar planned revelries by soldiers and veterans of the elite paratroop divisions.

Igor Nadezhdin, a health spokesman at the Moscow City Government, told the agency that by midday Sunday some participants were bathing in Moscow fountains and by 2.30 p.m. five had been taken to the hospital.

But he said the excesses were not as bad as last year's celebrations, when a navy veteran drowned in a fountain.

According to Alexander Velideyev, head of the navy's press service, no active servicemen were involved in misbehavior. He said 2,000 or so serving sailors had participated in celebrations at the Khimky reservoir, and all had behaved with perfect decency.

"Not one sailor in service was drunk," he said. Asked how he knew this, Velideyev added, "Maybe one or two of them had 100 grams of vodka, but not one irregularity was registered."

Velideyev said he could not confirm Interfax reports that a total of about 4,000 navy veterans had gathered in Gorky Park and at VDNKh exhibition park. He also refused to comment on reports that navy veterans had hired all the boats on the Moskva River and sometimes violated river-traffic rules.

Yevgeny Karatayev, head of the airborne divisions' press center, confirmed Monday that the commander of the airborne troops, Yevgeny Podkolzin, urged paratroopers and paratroop veterans to show discipline and self-control during celebrations of the Day of Airborne Troops on Wednesday.

Interfax quoted Podkolzin as appealing to present and former paratroopers to "show culture and responsibilities before fellow citizens."

This year's Aug. 2 celebrations are expected to be especially boisterous, as they mark the airborne troops' 65th anniversary.

"We can guarantee the behavior of those in service, but civilians are civilians and we can't guarantee their behavior," Karatayev said. Asked about veterans, he said, "Their age makes them more responsible, so they should be all right."

Karatayev said there had been "minor incidents" on airborne division days in the past but never any deaths.