‘Traitor’ Ukraine police chief who defected to Russia killed in explosion

Melitopol mayor calls slain police officer ‘traitor’ who defected to Russia after invasion

A police officer who defected to Russia was killed in an explosion in the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol on Thursday.

Oleksandr Mishchenko succumbed to his grievous injuries after an improvised device exploded at the entrance to the block where he lived.

Mishchenko used to head the police department in Melitopol but reportedly shifted his allegiance after Vladimir Putin’s forces captured the city following Russia’s unprovoked invasion that began in February last year.

Explosions take place regularly in Melitopol and other occupied cities of Ukraine where there is an active partisan movement. The city had a pre-war population of around 150,000 people and lies 40 miles behind the frontline further north.

Thursday’s explosion took place at about 5.15am (local time), the local branch of the Russian interior ministry said. “Two policemen were injured and hospitalised. Subsequently, one of them died,” it said.

A video shared by the authorities showed a crater next to the entrance of a building block and several nearby cars with shattered windows.

Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov called Mishchenko a “traitor” who not only “defected to the side of the enemy, but also tricked his employees” into joining him.

“The path of each collaborator is predictable: yesterday betrayal, today panic, tomorrow massacre,” he said on Telegram.

The mayor later named the second policeman as Yuryy Akimov, who he identified as Mishchenko’s assistant and driver.

Melitopol is in Zaporizhzhia province, one of four regions along with Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kherson, that Russia claimed to have annexed last year.

Several Russian-linked officials were killed last year in attacks in territories controlled by Russian troops, AFP reported.

A car explosion killed an official in December in Lyubimivka village in occupied southern Ukraine. The deputy head of the Russian-installed administration in Berdyansk, and his wife were killed in September.

At least eight people were killed as Russia fired more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones at Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine early Friday.

Air raid sirens sounded around the capital in the first attack against the city in nearly two months and Ukraine’s air force intercepted 11 cruise missiles and two unmanned aerial vehicles over Kyiv, according to the Kyiv City Administration.

In Uman, located nearly 134 miles south of Kyiv, two missiles hit a nine-story residential building, killing at least six people and wounding 17. One of the people killed was a 75-year-old who was in her apartment in a neighboring building and suffered internal bleeding from the shockwave of the blast.

Three children were rescued from the rubble, the Ukrainian national police said.

A 31-year-old woman and her two-year-old daughter were also killed in the eastern city of Dnipro in another attack, regional governor Serhii Lysak said.

The attacks came as Nato announced that its allies and partners have delivered more than 98 per cent of the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s allies have sent “vast amounts of ammunition” and trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian brigades, along with more than 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks and other equipment, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said.

“This will put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory,” Mr Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.



Enter comments here: