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Mayor of Melitopol, Ukraine: Partisan sleeper cells await their cue

The mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, tells Scripps News that his city's underground resistance is large, well-armed and ready.
Melitopol, Ukraine's mayor: Partisan sleeper cells await their cue
Posted at 2:32 PM, May 17, 2023

When Ukraine's counteroffensive begins, if it heads toward the southern city of Melitopol — as many experts suspect it will — that city's mayor in exile, Ivan Fedorov, says partisans will kick into action. 

"I think that it will be a great surprise for the Russians when our soldiers come near the border of Melitopol," Fedorov says. "The shooting at Russians will not only come from outside the city, but also from the inside."

The exiled mayor says Ukraine's military and secret services are in contact with hundreds of partisans who await word that it's time to spring into action. "They have great communication," he says.

Asked by Scripps News whether the partisans have explosives, Fedorov said, "They have everything to punish our collaborators and occupants." 

Fedorov's feed on Telegram, a social platform popular in Ukraine, shows photos of Russian-deployed "dragon's teeth" tank barriers, which indicate that the Russians are getting ready for a counteroffensive that may aim squarely at Melitopol.

The city is known as the "gateway to Crimea" and serves as an important logistics hub for Russian forces. 

Watch the video to hear more details Fedorov shared with Scripps News about what his sources in Melitopol are telling him. 

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