Farmers ‘poison cherries with chemicals to poison Russian soldiers’

Russian troops poisoned after cherry theft in occupied Ukrainian city

Troops occupying Melitopol reportedly stole the cherries from local farmers (Image: Getty)

Ukrainian officials claim a group of Russian soldiers fell ill after stealing cherries from local farmers who laced them with harmful chemicals.

According to Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, troops occupying south-eastern Ukraine are suffering from a “mass disease” after eating the fruit, although he did not name the source of this information.

He said Putin’s forces had seized a crop of sweet cherries with the intention of selling them for profit in the Russian-held Crimea region.

Little did they know, however, that the farmers had sprayed them with a poisonous substance, and appeared to have skimmed off some of the crops to nibble on.

It remains unclear whether the shipment was sold to civilians.

Mr. Fedorov added: “And this is another type of partisan movement, resistance, which exists today on the territory of Melitopol district.

“They shouldn’t steal anything from us, it’s all grown by the hard work of our farmers.”

The city and surrounding area, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, was one of the first to fall to Putin’s troops after his February invasion.

MARKET, KOLOMYIA, IVANO-FRANKIVSK OBLAST, UKRAINE - 2017/05/31: Cherries and strawberries for sale at the market in Kolomyia, in Ukraine. (Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Russian troops have been accused of seizing Ukrainian goods and selling them home (Image: Getty)

Its residents have been linked to a number of acts of sabotage, including the derailment of a Russian armored train.

A senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said two senior Russian officers were killed after deliberately damaged railroad tracks overturned train cars carrying soldiers and ammunition and set off a detonation.

The tragedy is said to have been worsened by the occupiers’ negligence in forbidding local railway workers from doing track maintenance work.

Posters with graphic images purporting to show local resistance fighters killing Russian soldiers have also been seen in the region in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in northern Ukraine, six Russian border guards were reportedly killed near a checkpoint when they came under fire from partisan gunmen.

Western intelligence sources could not distinguish between attacks by Ukrainian military sabotage forces and those organized by domestic resistance groups.

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Justin Scacco

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