Russians try to subdue Ukrainian towns by seizing mayors


              FILE - Valentina Bondarenko reacts as she stands with her husband Leonid outside their house that was heavily damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 27, 2022. The 78-year-old woman was in the garden and fell on the ground at the moment of the explosion. "Everything flew and I started to run away", says Valentina. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)
            
              FILE - Firefighters work after a drone attack on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Oct. 17, 2022. Waves of explosive-laden suicide drones struck Ukraine's capital as families were preparing to start their week early Monday, the blasts echoing across Kyiv, setting buildings ablaze and sending people scurrying to shelters. (AP Photo/Roman Hrytsyna, File)
            
              FILE - Russian soldiers guard an area as a group of foreign journalists visit in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. In the southern city of Kherson, one of the first seized by Russia and a key target of an unfolding Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Ukrainian mayor tried to stand his ground. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - Local residents walk in the Alley of Glory exploits of the heroes - natives of the Kherson region, who took part in the liberation of the region from the Nazi invaders, in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. In the southern city of Kherson, one of the first seized by Russia and a key target of an unfolding Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Ukrainian mayor tried to stand his ground. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - USAID Administrator Samantha Power, right, listens to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Oct. 6, 2022. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, Pool, File)
            
              FILE - Two Russian soldiers patrol an administrative area at the Khersonvodokanal (water channel) in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. In the southern city of Kherson, one of the first seized by Russia and a key target of an unfolding Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Ukrainian mayor tried to stand his ground. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks during a rally against Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, on March 7, 2022. As Russian forces sought to tighten their hold on Melitopol, hundreds of residents took to the streets to demand the mayor's release. (AP Photo/Olexandr Chornyi, File)
            
              FILE - People with Ukrainian flags walk towards Russian army trucks during a rally against the Russian occupation in Kherson, Ukraine, on March 20, 2022. As Russian forces sought to tighten their hold on Melitopol, hundreds of residents took to the streets to demand the mayor's release. (AP Photo/Olexandr Chornyi, File)
            
              FILE - Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks to the press at the scene of a residential building following explosions, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 26, 2022. "Each day of the war means destroyed villages and cities in Ukraine, and the crippled fates of our colleagues," Klitschko said. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
            
              FILE - From left, Ukrainian lawmakers Olena Khomenko, Maria Mezentseva, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov and lawmaker Rustem Umerov attend an Easter vigil ceremony presided over by Pope Francis, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on April 16, 2022. Fedorov, 34, is one of over 50 local leaders who have spent time in Russian captivity since the war began on Feb. 24 in an attempt to subdue towns and cities under Moscow's control. Like many others, he said he was pressured into collaborating with the invaders. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)
            
              FILE - People look as a replica of the Victory banner flutters in the wind over the central square in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - People walk past as Russian soldiers guard an office for Russian citizenship applications, in Melitopol, south Ukraine, July 14, 2022. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - A Russian serviceman stands guard as local civilians walk in the center of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - Russian soldiers guard an office for Russian citizenship applications as their military truck is parked nearby, in Melitopol, south Ukraine, on July 14, 2022. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. In some instances, they have been killed. Human rights activists say these actions could constitute a war crime. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, awards Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 17, 2022. Fedorov, 34, is one of over 50 local leaders who have spent time in Russian captivity since the war began on Feb. 24 in an attempt to subdue towns and cities under Moscow's control. Like many others, he said he was pressured into collaborating with the invaders. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)