War is terrible, and it often brings out the worst in all of us. As days turns to months, creativity becomes a tool of killing.

Ukrainian officials claim a group of Russian soldiers have fallen sick after stealing cherries from local farmers who had laced them with harmful chemicals.

Troops occupying southeastern Ukraine are suffering ‘mass disease’ as a result of eating the fruits, according to the Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, though he did not cite the source of this intelligence.

He said Putin’s forces had seized a crop of sweet cherries with the intention of selling them in the Russian-occupied Crimea region for profit.

But they were unaware the farmers had sprayed them with a toxic substance and appear to have skimmed off some of the crop for snacking.

It remains unclear whether the shipment went on to be sold to civilians.

Mr Fedorov added: ‘And this is another kind of partisan movement, resistance, which exists today on the territory of Melitopol district.

‘You shouldn’t steal anything from us, it was all grown with the hard work of our farmers.’

The city and its surrounding region, which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, was one of the first to fall to Putin’s forces after his invasion in February.

Its residents have been linked to a number of acts of sabotage including the derailing of a Russian armoured train.

A senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said two high-ranking Russian officers were killed after deliberately damaged railway tracks caused railroad cars carrying soldiers and ammunition to overturn, sparking a detonation.

The accident was said to have been worsened by the negligence of the occupying forces, who have banned local railworkers from track maintenance tasks.

Posters featuring graphic images claimed to show local resistance fighters killing Russian soldiers have also been seen in the region in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in north of Ukraine, six Russian border guards were reportedly killed near a checkpoint when they came under fire from armed partisans.

Western intelligence sources have not been able to distinguish between attacks carried out by sabotage forces sent in by the Ukrainian military and those organised by homegrown resistance groups.