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Treason investigation opened into installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol

Galina Danilchenko, the newly-installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol, Ukraine, is now under investigation by the Ukrainian prosecutor general.

Several members of the Melitopol City Council requested criminal proceedings begin against Danilchenko "for the high crime of treason" and "for attempting to set up an occupying government in Melitopol," CNN reports. They said Danilchenko is part of the "Opposition Bloc" and has dissolved the city government, transferring its powers to a "People's Deputies Committee."

The elected mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Federov, was abducted by several armed men on Friday. Later, the prosecutor's office in the separatist Luhansk People's Republic accused Federov of terrorist offenses. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Federov's detainment a "crime against democracy."

After Federov was detained, Danilchenko was introduced on television as Melitopol's acting mayor, and she told residents her "main task is to take all necessary steps to get the city back to normal." She also called on residents to "keep your wits about you" and not give in to any "provocations."

Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Melitopol this weekend, demanding that Federov be released and returned to the city. Danilchenko delivered another televised address on Sunday, saying Russian television channels would start broadcasting in the region due to "a great deficit of trustworthy information being circulated."