Russia invades Ukraine

Ukrainian protesters in the Russian-occupied city of Skadovsk, Ukraine, on March 16. (obtained by CNN)

Russian forces tear-gassed Ukrainian protesters in the Russian-occupied city of Skadovsk on Wednesday when they demonstrated against the detention of the mayor and two other officials, according to a citizen who will not be named for safety issues.

Ukrainian protesters in the Russian-occupied city of Skadovsk, Ukraine, on March 16.

Russian troops detained Mayor Alexander Yakolev, his deputy Alexander Grischenko and the city council secretary Yuri Palyukha on Wednesday morning, the citizen said. Dozens of residents of the Black Sea port city then gathered around noon outside the government building, where the three were being held.

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According to a video of the incident and the citizen, Russian troops fired tear gas at the protesters as they demonstrated peacefully, sang and chanted, and tried to mediate for the release of the three officials.

Yakolev was released, according to a video he posted on Telegram, but the fate of his deputy and the city council secretary is not known.

Some context: This is the first known instance of tear gas being used by the Russian military against Ukrainians in occupied territory since the invasion began three weeks ago.

Russian troops have frequently tried to disperse protesters with gunfire, shooting over their heads. On March 5, at least one protester was shot in the leg in the eastern town of  Novopskov in such an instance.

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