(QHA) -

Russian media reports said on Tuesday that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have removed the self-declared "people's mayor" of Slovyansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov from his post and arrested him.

Meanwhile spokesperson for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) has denied reports about the arrest of Slovyansk "people's mayor".

"The information about Vyacheslav's arrest is a lie. At this moment he is at a meeting," the DPR spokesperson told Interfax on Tuesday.

Later reports, citing a militia representative, said he was arrested.

 "I do not rule out that, under martial-law conditions, Igor Strelkov (the DPR  defence minister) may have made a decision on some staff reshuffling, not least on the replacement of the people's mayor of Slovyansk. However, the leaders of the republic in Donetsk have yet to be notified of this decision," DPR first deputy prime minister Andrei [sic] Purgin said.

Slovyansk, in the Donetsk region, has been the epicenter of a nearly 2-month-old standoff between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists.

Ponomaryov declared himself the "people's mayor" of Slovyansk in mid-April, when the separatists seized a number of administrative buildings in the city.

QHA