The mayor of the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol has accused occupying Russian forces of seizing businesses as living conditions for civilians deteriorate.
Mayor Ivan Fedorov was detained on March 11 but freed five days later as part of a prisoner exchange.
In comments on Wednesday, Fedorov said the "situation is difficult, because Russian soldiers have declared themselves as authorities but of course, they don't care about people and their problems, they only care about taking the money from the businessmen, seize their businesses."
"We estimate that 80% of Melitopol's population have trouble with food, medications, fuel supplies, and there is a big problem with the cash payments," Fedorov said.
The mayor said the city was sending requests to Russia every day to allow humanitarian aid to enter the city and people to evacuate. "So far, no reply," he said.
He also said Russian forces were intimidating the population and had detained a number of journalists.
Three Melitopol-based journalists, along with a retired newspaper publisher and his family, were detained by Russian forces on Monday and held for several hours before being released, according to Ukraine’s national journalists’ union.
The four – former publisher Mykhailo Kumok, editor Yevhenia Boryan, and reporters Yulia Olkhovska and Lyubov Chaika – are all associated with the newspaper Melitopolskie Vedomosti.