The Russian Federation (RF) occupied city of Melitopol saw a new round of partisan attacks on Wednesday including a pair of assassinations of collaborating officials, several news feeds associated with the Ukrainian resistance said. There was no corroboration from occupation authorities.

According to a UNIAN news agency report citing Melitopol media, an early May 18 morning guerrilla attack on the central Heroiv Ukrainy street left two men, both allegedly Russian citizens and senior members of the Melitopol occupying authority, lying dead on the sidewalk. Police and “Cossack” volunteers collaborating with law enforcement removed the corpses in body bags after an hour, the report said.

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Later on May 18, the Zaporizhia Telegram channel reported an explosion that took place in the town Melitopol. The Zaporizhia Novosti Telegram channel reported a RF armored train was hit in the blast, with RF service personnel reportedly killed and injured. The RIA-Melitopol news agency said the device had been placed underneath a passenger car and that track was damaged.

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Other Melitopol news platforms reported on May 18 a hand grenade exploded on the central Akademik Shmidt Street, adjacent to the RF forces’ headquarters in the city. Reportedly, RF units defending the vicinity opened fire following the explosion, and RF troops and police set up road checkpoints at city exits.

According to a May 18 statement from the Zaporizhia regional administration, occupation authorities in Melitopol are conducting a messaging campaign on Moscow’s instructions to convince residents Kyiv authorities betrayed the city and have written off any chances of returning it to Ukrainian control, and that when Ukraine Armed Forces return and try and recapture the city Melitopol will be destroyed. The propaganda campaign is being broadcast on city-controlled media while independent media is banned, the statement said.

Ivan Federiv, the Melitopol mayor-in-exile, in May 18 comments to UA: Pershy television said half of the city’s peacetime 130,000 population has left to avoid living under occupation. Among those remaining is an active partisan network directly supported by the Ukrainian government, he said.

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Presidential advisor Oleskiy Arestovych in an evening May 17 statement said that a UAF counter-offensive is coming to liberate Melitopol and the adjacent occupied city Kherson, but that UAF forces will not assault directly, and civilian property damage will be minimal.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a May 17 evening national address said cities like Melitopol are only temporarily occupied and that “no matter what there will be (in occupied cities) the Ukrainian flag, Ukrainian law and Ukrainian life.”

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