First Ukrainian city falls to Russian troops

·2-min read

Russia took control of its first city in Ukraine on Wednesday, a week after the invasion began.

Kherson is now under Russian control as the city was surrounded earlier in the day, a senior Ukrainian official said, The New York Times reported.

Igor Kolykhaev, the mayor of the city of 300,000 people, confirmed in an interview with The Times that the city was surrounded and the Ukraine army was not in the area.

In a post earlier on Facebook that was cited by CNN and others, the mayor said the Russians were in the city council and that his team was not going to fight and had no weapons.

"I made no promises to them. I just have nothing to promise. I am only interested in the normal life of our city! I just asked not to shoot people. We don't have Ukrainian Armed Forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to LIVE here!" Kolykhaev said.

Kolyhaev told The Times that 300 civilians and defense troops may have been killed during the takeover.

"I've brought on volunteers to help gather up bodies and we're burying them immediately because many of the bodies have been blown apart," he said. "If we can make a photograph it makes sense to try to identify them, but if not we put them into bags and bury them that way."

Kolyhaev said the high-caliber weapons the Russians used made some of the bodies unrecognizable.

The news comes after Russia declared it had control of the city earlier Wednesday.

"The city is not experiencing shortages in food and essential goods," the Russian Defense Ministry said. "Negotiations are ongoing between the Russian command, the administration of the city and the region to address issues of maintaining the functioning of social infrastructure facilities, ensuring law and order and the safety of the population."