A confrontation between Ukrainian civilians and Russian forces in the town of Konotop ended with a defiant message from the town’s mayor and — according to the Ukrainian side — an agreement to preserve peace.
Konotop is a small town in the northeastern region of Sumy.
Social media video verified by CNN shows a Russian delegation emerging from city hall to be confronted by an angry crowd. One of the Russians appears to hold up two hand grenades as he returns to his vehicle, while onlookers shout abuse and jostle the Russians, chanting “shame.”
His vehicle and a Russian infantry fighting vehicle then left.
The Sumy regional authorities reported that “in Konotop, the invaders came to negotiate with city authorities. According to Mayor Artem Semenikhin, the Russian military came out and told him to surrender the city. They threatened to fire artillery on the city.”
But the mayor “explicitly defied threats,” the authorities said.
Video of the mayor addressing a crowd showed him saying: “They are giving me these terms now: If we start resisting, they will shell the city with artillery. If you vote for it, we will fight back! Who votes to fight back?”
There is a shout of approval, while some in the crowd said women and children should be evacuated.
“I’m voting for fighting back. But the decision has to be taken by everyone, because the artillery is aimed at us,” he said.
Later, Dmytro Zhyvytsky, head of Sumy region military administration, said an arrangement had been reached with the Russians.
“The conversation between my representative from the military administration and Russians in Konotop lasted about 12 minutes,” Zhyvytsky said.
“The agreement is as follows: There can be no question of any change of government. They are interested in law and order. There won’t be any movement of troops. The Ukrainian flag is in its place,” he said.
“There is an agreement that we will not shoot and there will be no mutual provocations. They remain in their positions. Unobstructed passage of public transport and services, ambulances, vehicles with food, humanitarian goods will be provided,” he continued.
“To ensure security in the city and control, our volunteers will additionally build checkpoints in Konotop,” he said.
There has been no word from the Russian side about such an agreement.
Across Ukraine, there have been multiple instances of civil disobedience in the face of the Russian advance, with civilians blocking roads, standing in front of tanks and confronting Russian soldiers.