Russian authorities have arrested the mayor of Kherson, one of the few senior Ukrainian officials to stay in a Russian-occupied area despite persistent threats.
Galyna Lyashevska, an adviser to Ihor Kolykhaev, said the elected mayor of Kherson, which has lived under Russian occupation for four months, arrived at his temporary office yesterday where he was detained by unknown armed men and taken away.
“Kolykhaev was put on a bus with the letter Z and taken away,” she wrote on Facebook.
She said the mayor recently received yet another request from the local puppet government for co-operation, but turned it down.
“They threatened to arrest him if he refused to meet them. He did refuse,” she said..
“All of us are in danger. I’m worried for Ihor Kolykhaev’s life.”
Later a senior occupation administration official in Kherson confirmed the reports, dismissing the mayor as “a poster boy for the Nazi community” who “has been hampering the process of denazification”.
“Finally he has been neutralised,” Kirill Stremousov told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
He wouldn’t say where the mayor was or what charges he might be facing.
While top regional officials have largely fled occupied areas, Mr Kolykhaev refused to leave his post or to recognise Russian rule.
His arrest comes as a staunch Kremlin critic was sentenced to two weeks in jail in a case that could potentially send him to prison for a decade.
Ilya Yashin, a vocal opposition figure who defied Russia’s war censorship by speaking out publicly against the invasion of Ukraine, was sentenced by a Moscow court to 15 days in prison for resisting police orders.
Mr Yashin, (38), was detained on Monday night while walking in a park with a friend.
He has previously been fined four times under the new war censorship law for social media posts criticising the invasion of Ukraine.
Just two fines under the law could allow prosecutors to convert them into criminal charges, which could then result in a decade in prison.
Telegraph Media Group Limited