Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians take to the streets to demand the release of the mayor of Melitopol kidnapped by Russian troops


A large crowd gathered outside the building where Russian soldiers were seen kidnapping the mayor.

A large crowd gathered outside the building where Russian soldiers were seen kidnapping the mayor.

Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of Ukrainian citizens have taken to the streets to demand the release of a mayor kidnapped by Russian troops Of occupation.

Ivan Fedorov was filmed being dragged away by Russian forces, with a plastic bag over his head in the city of Melitopol.in the south of Ukraine.

Ukraine鈥檚 parliament says Fedorov 鈥渞efused to cooperate with the enemy鈥 and was kidnapped from the southern city鈥檚 crisis center, where he was dealing with supply problems.

But soon a large crowd gathered outside the building from which Russian soldiers were seen dragging him out.

Some of those who defied the occupiers of Vladimir Putin carried banners demanding the mayor鈥檚 release.

鈥淎 group of 10 squatters kidnapped Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov,鈥 authorities wrote on Twitter.

鈥淒uring Fedorov鈥檚 kidnapping, they put a plastic bag over his head.鈥

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the kidnapping on Friday night, calling it a 鈥渟ign of weakness of the invaders鈥 and comparing the Russian soldiers to 鈥淚SIS terrorists.鈥

He also praised Fedorov as 鈥渁 mayor who courageously defends Ukraine and members of his community.鈥

鈥淭hey found no collaborators who would hand over the city and power to the invaders,鈥 Zelensky said in a video message.

鈥淭herefore, they have switched to a new stage of terror when they try to physically eliminate the representatives of the legitimate local Ukrainian authorities.鈥

鈥淭he whole country saw that Melitopol did not surrender to the invaders, and that is not going to change by pressuring the mayors or kidnapping mayors.

鈥淭he capture of the mayor of Melitopol is therefore a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy itself.

鈥淭he acts of the Russian invaders will be regarded as those of the Islamic State terrorists.鈥

Fedorov was captured by about 10 Russian soldiers and taken from the government building when he allegedly refused to hand over the city to his captors.

Russian troops have controlled the city of Melitopol for more than a week.

On Facebook, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said: 鈥淲e call on the international community to respond immediately to the kidnapping of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians, and increase pressure on Russia to end its barbaric war against the Ukrainian people.鈥

鈥淭he authors of this and other crimes will be held to the strictest responsibility.鈥

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