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In Russian-occupied Melitopol in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russian forces have reportedly come to search teachers' homes and are taking away their electronic devices to prevent them from teaching remotely, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said on Feb. 5.
"(The Russians) are afraid that those who are in the occupied territory are conducting online lessons according to the Ukrainian curriculum. They force our educators to come to captured schools and teach children according to the Russian curriculum," Fedorov said.
According to Fedorov, only 10 of the 22 schools are open, and out of a total of 2,900 employees of the education department in Melitopol, less than 300 agreed to collaborate with Russian forces. Not a single director of a school or kindergarten agreed to cooperate, the mayor also said.
Russia has occupied Melitopol since March following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, Russia has launched an aggressive campaign to rid the town of Ukrainian economic, cultural, and historical markers.
On Feb. 4, Fedorov said that Russian forces in Melitopol had renamed 86 streets named after Ukrainian figures. He said the streets were instead renamed after Russian and Soviet figures. Russian forces also reportedly dismantled a monument dedicated to the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in December that Russian forces in occupied Melitopol were forcing residents to obtain Russian passports in exchange for their salaries. Russian troops also forced locals to switch from Ukrainian currency to the Russian ruble.