People exit bombed-out Mariupol Theater building, Ukrainian official says

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

Russian forces gassed Ukrainian protesters in the Russian-occupied town of Skadovsk on Wednesday as they demonstrated against the detention of the mayor and two other officials, according to a citizen who will not be named for security reasons.

Russian troops arrested Mayor Alexander Yakolev, his deputy Alexander Grischenko and 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 men were being held.

According to video of the incident and the citizen, Russian troops fired tear gas at protesters as they peacefully demonstrated, chanted and chanted and attempted to negotiate 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.

A bit of context: This is the first known case of the use of tear gas by the Russian army against Ukrainians in occupied territory since the start of the invasion three weeks ago.

Russian troops frequently attempted to disperse protesters with gunfire, firing 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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