According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials, the mayor of Melitopol in southern Ukraine was seized on Friday by Russian military occupying the city.
“The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, was kidnapped by a group of ten occupants,” Ukraine’s parliament announced on Twitter.
It went on to say, “He refused to cooperate with the enemy.”
The mayor was apprehended while dealing with supply concerns at the city’s crisis center, according to the report.
Late Friday, Zelenskyy confirmed Fedorov’s kidnapping in a video message, calling him “a mayor who heroically defends Ukraine and the members of his neighborhood.”
“This is clearly an evidence of the invaders’ weakness… They’ve progressed to a new level of terror, in which they’re attempting to physically eliminate legitimate local Ukrainian authorities,” he stated.
“The kidnapping of Melitopol’s mayor is thus a crime, not only against a single person, community, or country, but also against Ukraine.” It’s a slap in the face to democracy… The Russian invaders’ actions would be compared to those of ISIS militants, he warned.
Kirillo Timoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, previously shared a video on Telegram showing soldiers emerging from a building with a man clothed in black, his head seemingly covered by a black bag.
Another regional official, the deputy head of the regional council of Zaporizhzhia – 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Melitopol – was abducted and freed a few days ago, according to the Ukrainian parliament.
Melitopol had a population of little over 150,000 people before the Russian invasion.