A PUPPET governor of a Putin-occupied Ukrainian city has been rushed to hospital after a suspected poisoning.
Kherson chief Vladimir Saldo has been hit with a second assasination attempt less than a month after previously surviving a bomb-plot.
Saldo was poisoned after a chef was brought into his home to cook for the Kremlin crony, Russian opposition media has reported.
The latest attempt on his life came as the Putin-appointed Mayor of Kherson was targeted amid a Ukrainian fight-back in the city.
After eating food prepared by the chef, Saldo reportedly “became ill, his mind began to cloud and his fingertips went numb”.
He was rushed to hospital in Simferopol, Crimea, 170 miles south of Kherson, where Ukrainian forces have been attempting to launch an offensive against Russian occupiers.
The mayor was placed in a coma and flown to Moscow, where he is now fighting for his life on a ventilator.
Regional officials have denied he has been poisoned, but doctors are still awaiting his toxicology reports.
Saldo’s deputy in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, said: “Five months non-stop under bullets and Grads. The man was simply overtired.
“The diagnosis is fatigue.”
The poisoning comes less than a month since Russian-appointed officials in Kherson claimed that they had prevented a bomb-plot intended for Saldo.
Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti cited the officials as saying that a bomb was placed on a road waiting for Saldo to drive through.
But the explosive was “discovered and defused” in time before the Putin-crony got to it.
He previously served as mayor of Kherson between 2002 and 2012, and had claimed just weeks into Putin’s invasion that “Kherson is Ukraine”.
But less than a month later he was installed as head of the city under Russian rule, and has since backed Putin’s brutal invasion.
Saldo was placed as the puppet-mayor of Kherson after Russian forces blew through the city in February, becoming the first Ukrainian area to be taken by Moscow.
Kherson, around 280 miles from capital city Kyiv, has been under Russian control since the beginning of the invasion, but a Ukrainian campaign to retake the city has been gathering momentum in recent weeks.
Saldo’s reign over the city has seen brave Kherson residents protest through the streets in defiance of the Kremlin assault.