Russian soldiers stole cherries from Ukrainian farmers and got poisoned, mayor says

A composite image showing Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fyodorov and a stock image of cherries

Mayor Ivan Fedorov of Melitopol and a stock image of cherriesFreedom UA / Westend61 via Getty Images

  • The mayor of Melitopol said Ukrainian farmers there poisoned their cherry crop to protest Russia.

  • Ivan Fedorov said it was in response to Russian troops stealing the cherries in the Russian-occupied city.

  • Federov called the poisoned cherries a “gift” that was “prepared” for the Russians.

Russian soldiers stole cherries from Ukrainian farmers in the occupied city of Melitopol and got poisoned by them, the mayor said Thursday.

Ivan Fedorov in a Thursday telethon described this as “the latest kind of partisan resistance on the territory of Melitopol,” by The Daily Beast’s translation.

He said the farmers “prepared a gift” for the occupying Russian forces in the form of “recently treated sweet cherries, which caused mass illness among those who stole them from the farmers,” The Daily Beast reported.

Russia reinstated the sale of sweet cherries from the southeastern city to Crimea in early Ukrainian June, Russia’s state-controlled Interfax news agency reported. The city, which is in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, has about 2,000 hectares of cherry farms producing several thousand tons of the fruit, the agency said.

Ukraine had blocked sales to Crimea after Russia’s 2014 annexation of the territory, Interfax reported.

Last month Fedorov charged the Russian occupiers of Melitopol prices of sweeping up the city’s cherry harvest and only offering to once they are sold in Crimea, at rock-bottom Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.

Fedorov characterized the move as theft. Interfax described it as a cooperation between Russia and Andriy Siguta, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s so-called “temporary administration.” Ukrainian media has described Siguta as a collaborator with Russian forces.

Melitopol was the first significant populated area to be captured by Russia in its invasion, having been taken the day after Putin sent his troops into Ukraine, as Reuters reported.

Fedorov was briefly kidnapped after a protest in March and a puppet mayor, pro-Russian Galina Danilchenko, was installed in his place. Fedorov was freed four days later, but the Russia-installed administration remains.

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