Zelenskyy calls Russian abduction of Melitopol mayor terrorism
Russian occupiers have kidnapped the mayor of Melitopol, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy called it “a new stage of terror” and showed the invaders’ weakness.
On Friday, Ukrainian officials said the Russians had abducted Ivan Fedorov the mayor of Melitopol in southern Ukraine which was later confirmed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The city of around 150,000 people has been under Russian occupation since two days after Putin ordered his troops to invade.
According to a Twitter post by Ukraine's parliament, Fedorov was kidnapped because he “refused to cooperate with the enemy.” President Zelenskyy in a video said that the crime against democracy will be equated with those of ISIS.
Mayor seized while at the city’s crisis center
A video released by the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration Kirillo Timoshenko showed a group of 10 soldiers coming out of a building. They can be seen leading away a man with a bag over his head dressed in black. In a Twitter post by the Ukrainian parliament said the Russians had put a plastic bag over Fedorov’s head.
President Zelenskyy in a video message confirmed the abduction of Melitopol’s mayor saying he’s "a mayor who courageously defends Ukraine and the members of his community".
The move by the Russians in his view is “a obvious this is a sign of weakness of the invaders.” He posited that Fedorov was kidnapped because “they didn’t find any collaboration, that is why they have transitioned into a new stage of terror in which they try to liquidate representatives of Ukraine's lawful local authorities.”
Zelenskyy added "The capture of the mayor of Melitopol is a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy itself. The actions of the Russian invaders will be equated with those of Islamic State terrorists."
Melitopol’s residents take to the streets to protest mayor’s abduction
On Saturday, hundreds of protestors took to the street surrounding the administration building demanding the mayor's release. There have been daily protest in Melitopol since the city was captured by Russian force 26 February. The city is located in southern Ukriane around 75 miles from Zaporizhzhya the regional captial.
According to the Ukrainian parliament the Russian occupiers had previously kidnapped a participant in a rally against the occupation, Serhiy Kyrychuk. As well as Leyla Ibragimova a deputy of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council, she has since been released.