The 66-year-old Saldo is Ukrainian by birth and was already politically active before the Russian invasion. He was mayor of Kherson from 2002 to 2012 and then sat in parliament for ex-president Viktor Yanukovych’s party until 2014. In 2015, he lost the election for mayor of Kherson. Shortly after the Russian occupation of large parts of southern Ukraine, Saldo was appointed by Moscow as head of the military administration in Kherson.

    It was initially believed that Saldo had suffered a heart attack, but his condition deteriorated rapidly and he fell into a coma. Doctors suspect that he has been poisoned. Meanwhile, Saldo has been taken to a hospital in Moscow that specializes in poisoning. His condition is still critical.

    Balance is one of the main targets of the Ukrainian army, which has intensified its activities in southern Ukraine last week. He had also been blacklisted by the United States with Kremlin-loyal oligarchs since the beginning of this month.