Tuesday, January 31

Treason investigation launched into newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol

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Newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol, Galina Danilchenko,

Ukraine’s prosecutor general has opened a treason investigation into Galina Danilchenko, the newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol.

The investigation comes after a group of Melitopol City Council members issued a written address Sunday, requesting the prosecutor general initiate criminal proceedings against Danilchenko, “for the high crime of treason, for attempting to set up an occupying government in Melitopol.”  

In its address, the Council accused Danilchenko, “a city council member from the Opposition Bloc,” of dissolving the city government and transferring its powers to a People’s Deputies Committee.

The prosecutor general’s office announced it had opened an investigation in a statement posted on its website, accusing Danilchenko of, “fulfilling the task set to her by her Russian Federation representatives” when she declared herself Melitopol’s acting mayor.

“In announcing the creation of a body not defined by Ukrainian law, this People’s Deputies Committee, the suspect called on Ukrainian citizens for their support and citizens of Melitopol to stop resisting the occupying forces,” the statement from the prosecutor’s office read.

According to the statement, the investigation and criminal proceedings will be conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine in the Zaporizhzhia region.

On Facebook, Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova lauded the Melitopol City Council address saying, “I heard you and I’m proud of you.”  

Some context: Danilchenko was installed as Melitopol’s mayor after the elected mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was detained by armed men on Friday. Shortly after he was detained, the prosecutor’s office for the Russian-backed separatist region of Luhansk accused Fedorov of terrorism offenses.

On Sunday, Danilchenko said in a televised video that “Russian TV channels” would begin broadcasting in the region. She claimed, “a great deficit of trustworthy information being circulated,” as reasoning for the broadcasting decision.

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