A mayor in a Ukrainian town occupied by Russian forces has been released from captivity and the soldiers have agreed to leave after a mass protest by residents.
Slavutych, a northern town close to the Chernobyl nuclear site, was taken by Russian forces but stun grenades and overhead fire failed to disperse unarmed protesters on its main square on Saturday.
The crowd demanded the release of mayor Yuri Fomichev, who had been taken prisoner by the Russian troops.
Attempts by Russian troops to intimidate the growing protest failed and on Saturday afternoon Fomichev was let go by his captors.
An agreement was made that the Russians would leave the town if those with arms handed them over to the mayor with a dispensation for those with hunting rifles.
Fomichev told those protesting that the Russians had agreed to withdraw “if there are no [Ukrainian] military in the city”.
The deal struck, the mayor said, was that the Russians would make a search for Ukrainian soldiers and arms and then depart. One Russian checkpoint outside the city would remain.
The incident highlights the struggle that Russian forces have faced even where they have had military victories. [Continue reading…]