Ukrainian Mayor Charged With Treason for Accepting Aid From Russia

A Ukrainian mayor was recently charged with treason for taking aid from Russia amid the ongoing war between the two nations.

In a press release on Friday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said that the mayor of Balakliia was recently accused of "treason and collaboration" with the Russian Federation. Since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, fighting between the two countries has continued in numerous Ukrainian cities. In response to Russia's invasion, the U.S. and dozens of NATO countries have condemned Russia as well sanctioned aspects of the country's economy.

According to the press release, the mayor was elected in 2015 and shortly after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, "the mayor decided to side with the enemy."

The announcement on Friday comes a few weeks after the Kyiv Independent reported that the Balakliia mayor fled Ukraine and traveled to Russia with his family, citing comments made by Kharkiv's regional head, Oleh Synehubov.

Kharkiv
The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Balakliia was recently accused of treason for accepting aid from Russia. Above, a damaged residential building near Kharkiv is shown following shelling on April 22, 2022. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty

"He gave his voluntary consent to perform the powers of the mayor in the local self-government body supported by the occupation regime," the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement, that was translated by Google.

The statement went on to say that on March 28, the Balakliia mayor, who was not identified, held a meeting with the city's council where he told city officials "to be loyal to both the occupying forces and the Russian Federation as a whole."

"On the same day, he held a meeting of local residents and announced the issuance of 'humanitarian aid' by the Russian military, as well as the fact that he was negotiating with the leadership of the occupying forces to establish public utilities in the city," the statement said.

On April 7, the Kyiv Independent reported that Synehubov spoke with Ukraine's ICTV and said that Ivan Stolbovyi, the mayor of Balakliia was under investigation after reports that he fled to Russia with his family.

According to the Kyiv Independent, Synehubov accused the mayor of cooperating with the Russian military after they took control of Balakliia.

A somewhat similar incident occurred earlier in March when the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened an investigation of treason against Galina Danilchenko, who was recently appointed mayor of Melitopol, which is currently under Russian control. According to CNN, several city council members in Melitopol accused Danilchenko of "treason, for attempting to set up an occupying government in Melitopol."

"The suspect called on Ukrainian citizens for their support and citizens of Melitopol to stop resisting the occupying forces," the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement, CNN reported.

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office for comment.