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Russia is trying to set up pro-Kremlin officials in the occupied cities, but Ukrainians are fighting back

According to Ukrainian officials, Russian troops have detained mayors in at least two regions, replacing one with a pro-Kremlin opposition member. Parliamentarians in Russia’s third-occupied city say it has laid the groundwork for a political coup.

Despite overcoming Ukraine’s military resistance to occupying the territory, attempts to expel local leaders have created new challenges for Moscow.

The Ukrainian prosecutor’s chief has launched a treason investigation into the newly established Russian-occupied Mayor of Melitopol, Galina Danilchenko, in southeastern Ukraine.

The move follows the plea that city lawmakers sought a criminal investigation into Danilchenko over what they called on Sunday. “High treason for trying to establish an occupation government in Melitopol.”

The city council has accused Danilchenko, a former member of the city council, of dissolving the city government and transferring its authority to the People’s Deputy Commission, according to the website of the Zaporizhia local government.

Danilchenko declares himself a local leader Said immediately in a speech aired on television Sunday The “Russian television channel” will begin broadcasting in cities occupied by Russia from the first day of the invasion.

Her ascension met an angry protest on Saturday, with hundreds chanting “Mayor’s Freedom” and “Fedrov” outside the city hall.

A Russian-backed local prosecutor in Luhansk, a separatist-controlled area about 300 miles from Melitopol’s, claimed that the reason for Fedrov’s arrest was that he had committed a terrorist crime.

According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Jeuhen Matveyev, the leader of Donipurdone, a small city north of Melitopol’s second mayor, was abducted by Russian troops on Sunday.

“Today, Russian war criminals have kidnapped another democratically elected mayor of Ukraine, the head of Dniprorudne Yevhen Matveyev. Without local support, the invaders turn to terrorism. I Call on all states and international organizations to stop Russia’s terrorism against Ukraine and democracy. ” Cleva tweeted on Sunday.

CNN was unable to independently confirm the claim.

Residents of Russian-occupied Kherson protest on Sunday.

And in the southern city of Kherson, a political battle is underway to prevent the occupied city from turning into a separate pro-Russian republic.

Mayor Kherson Ihor Kolykhaiev said public protests indicate that “Kherson is Ukraine” and insisted that he maintain the city’s executive branch.

In a video posted on Facebook on Sunday, Korihaiev said, “The city lives in normal mode, the city council is functioning, all agents are working, and all utilities are up and running. The mayor’s office is waving a flag in front of him. Kherson is Ukraine. “

Kherson has been occupied by Russian troops since March 3. Recently, at least one Kherson local parliamentary official has warned that the occupying forces are laying the foundation for the “People’s Republic of Kherson.”

Hundreds of demonstrators flocked to the streets of Russian-occupied cities last Sunday to protest the suspicious Russian plan. The mayor said it was “a peaceful protest that the citizens’ position is that Carson is Ukraine.”

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Alluding to reports of Russia’s political tactics, Korihaiev said, “It seems that behind-the-scenes talks are taking place, and those who want to change the political structure of our country and southern Ukraine will influence this situation. “.

As Russian troops slowly invade other major Ukrainian cities, the level of rebellion in the occupied territories is a long and difficult battle for Moscow to strengthen its political power if it succeeds in its immediate military goals. May indicate.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation of Ukrainians in the occupied cities continues to deteriorate.

Kherson said Kherson had been cut off from humanitarian aid and had run out of resources less than two weeks after the occupation.

“I can’t receive humanitarian cargo. Food ends up in stores and I’m running out of gas. I only have diesel oil left at gas stations. I’m running out of medicine and insulin.”

“Our main weapon is unity,” he said.

CNN’s Tim Lister and Jonny Hallam contributed to the report.

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