Mayor in Ukraine asks his city’s residents whether they wish to fight or surrender.
The city of Konotop, in northeastern Ukraine, was the scene of a tense confrontation between residents and Russian troops, who the mayor said had threatened to destroy the city if it didn’t surrender.
Footage verified by The New York Times showed several Russian soldiers walking through an angry crowd accompanied by the city’s mayor, Artem Semenikhin, near Konotop’s City Council building. One of the soldiers held a grenade in each hand above his head as he walked. The footage appeared to have first surfaced online Wednesday, but it was unclear when the events actually look place.
“Shame,” several people shouted at the soldiers. “Don’t walk around showing your grenade off,” said one person, using a profanity. The Russian soldiers eventually drove away.
Another video showed Mr. Semenikhin standing on a concrete planter outside the City Council building and addressing the crowd. He said the Russian soldiers had told him they would “raze the city to the ground with their artillery” if the residents did not surrender. He then asked the crowd whether they wanted to surrender or fight. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of fighting.
“I am too,” Mr. Semenikhin said. “But the decision has to be unanimous because their artillery is already trained on us.”