Accused collaborator Galina Danilchenko, who was installed as Melitopol mayor by the Russian occupation, on August 22, 2022

In occupied parts of Ukraine, some locals decided to side with the Russians.
Unable to get far before the war, they’ve gained power and as part of the occupation.
But being a collaborator is a dangerous business — and some have a price on their heads.

Galina Danilchenko, the “mayor” of Russian-occupied Melitopol, is trapped. 

Around half the city has fled since Russia occupied the city in February, according to its elected mayor, Ivan Fedorov. Melitopol-related Telegram channels are peppered with posts advertising dangerous car rides out of there.

But unlike most Ukrainians living under Russian military rule, Danilchenko’s cage is of her own making.

On March 12, Fedorov was snatched off the streets by Russian soldiers, and Danilchenko, a local politician with long-held pro-Russian views, declared herself mayor in his place.

According to RIA-Melitopol, a local news site with strongly partisan leanings, a bomb scare in May prompted her to offer her resignation. But the Russian military administration told her that the only way out is to give herself up to the Ukrainian Secret Service, the outlet reported. 

Despite Russia’s control of much of the Zaporizhzhia region, it’s not a good time to be a collaborator.

While Ukraine’s army retakes large swathes of the country in the north-east, partisan fighters in the occupied south are waging guerrilla attacks on anyone who aids Russia — including fellow Ukrainians like Danilchenko.

Since mid-May, at least 11 pro-Russian collaborators have met messy fates — some of them fatal, not all of them formally claimed by Ukraine. 

But in August alone, they featured car bombs, a suspected poisoning, and a deputy mayor shot dead just outside his home.

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On August 5, both Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Vladimir Saldo has been put into a medically induced coma, citing a suspected poisoning. Saldo had the head of the government in the occupied city of Kherson.

On August 11 in Luhansk, the installed head of the military administration Serhii Haidai was seriously injured with a car bomb, his Telegram channel confirmed. 

The next day, Oleg Shostak— the mouthpiece of Zaporizhzhia’s regional military installation— was injured after a bomb went off under his car, per RIA-Melitopol. The exact injuries are unclear, but Fedorov noted with apparent satisfaction that Shostak “would not be able to sit down for some time.”

Fedorov, the elected mayor, told Insider that he is in regular contact with the partisan forces in his city that are working to eliminate collaborators. 

And, he said, if the partisans don’t get them, Moscow will. 

Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov in the Vatican on April 17, 2022

Unable to walk the streets without an armed guard

Fedorov learned that Danilchenko would be installed in his stead when Russian soldiers snatched him on March 11. 

“I heard it in the first minutes of my kidnapping,” he told Insider. Soldiers told him at gunpoint that he would be freed if he signed papers handing power to Danilchenko, …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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