Underground resistance in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine is growing, Mayor Ivan Fedorov said, adding that a number of Russian soldiers have been killed.
Fedorov is no longer in the city himself but said that according to intelligence data, more than 100 Russians had been "eliminated by the Melitopol guerrilla movement and special services cooperation. But I’m sure that this number is higher."
There is no way to verify the figure, and there has been no visual confirmation of Russians being killed in Melitopol.
Fedorov claimed on Ukrainian television that, according to information he received, the Russians "abduct people and hold them captive, and very few people know how people are being treated while held captive."
Since the beginning of the occupation, around 500 people had been detained by Russian forces — some for weeks — Fedorov said.
"If we try to categorize those who are under the threat of captivity — first of all, these are the dissidents, those who do not want to become part of Russia, those who condemn the occupation and those who simply disagree. Some people voice their disagreement, some only talk about it in their kitchens at home, but everyone is under threat," he said.
He noted that people held by the Russians were forced to sign documents saying that they would no longer attend rallies against the occupation or make statements in support of Russian forces.
Some had been tortured, he claimed. "It’s not just dangerous to go out for the pro-Ukrainian rallies — it’s dangerous to simply stay in the city. So as of today, over 50% of residents have left Melitopol. That’s over 70,000 people."
The latest theft by occupying forces was of Melitopol's cherry harvest, Fedorov said.
"They are taking it from our farmers, promising that one day they will give them some money in exchange. They also tell our farmers, that according to Russian legislation, one cannot have more than four hectares of fruit trees; anything in excess, they will confiscate," he said.