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SLAVYANSK, June 13, /ITAR-TASS/. A new people’s mayor has been appointed in the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine’s embattled Donetsk Region, the Novorossiya news agency reported Friday.
“A new people’s mayor, Slavyansk labor and social protection department head Vladimir Pavlenko, has been appointed by an order of Igor Strelkov, commander of the city’s militiamen,” it said.
“Former city head Vyacheslav Ponomaryov was dismissed and detained in the city’s department of the Ukrainian Security Service controlled by militiamen. He is suspected of embezzling funds transferred to the city,” the agency said.
The new people’s mayor has reportedly already held a meeting with representatives of the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ukraine and confirmed “readiness for talks on the necessity to stop the armed standoff in the region”.
Clashes have been underway between the Ukrainian military and militias in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which refused to recognize the authorities who had been propelled to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
A Kiev-led punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine's Southeast that involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilian, and left some buildings destroyed and damaged.
Billionaire businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko, who had funded anti-government protests that led to February’s coup, won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine set by the provisional Kiev authorities. He was sworn in on June 7. Despite hopes that the punitive operation will stop under Poroshenko, it still continues.