Kalmyks Protest Appointment Of Ex-Separatist Ukrainian Leader As Acting Mayor

ELISTA, Russia -- Protesters in Elista, the capital of Russia's southwestern region of Kalmykia, have given authorities an October 1 deadline to remove its acting city mayor who is a former leader of Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Protesters gathered over the weekend to demand the ouster of Dmitry Trapeznikov, who was appointed to the post on September 26.

Appearing before the protesters, city council head Nikolai Orzayev defended Dmitry Trapeznikov's appointment but was forced to abandon his efforts amid waves of anger from the crowd.

The protesters warned that if their demand was not met by the October 1 deadline, further rallies would be held.

Trapeznikov has been known as a leader of Russia-backed separatists in his native Donetsk region in Ukraine.

Since 2014, Russia has been supporting separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people.

In 2018, Trapeznikov was briefly the acting leader of the separatist entity in Donetsk after the assassination of the previous incumbent Aleksandr Zakharchenko.

Kalmyks are a Mongol-speaking and predominantly Buddhist ethnic group, who live close to Russia’s North Caucasus region.