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Russian Forces Abduct Ukrainian City Mayor, Footage Suggests

Russian Forces Abduct Ukrainian City Mayor, Footage Suggests

The mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city Melitopol has been abducted by Russian forces, it's been claimed.

The mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol has been abducted by Russian forces, it's been claimed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told his citizens in his evening address yesterday, Friday March 11, 'Today, in Melitopol, the invaders captured the mayor of the city, Ivan Federov. A mayor who courageously defends Ukraine and the people of his community.'

In a post to the social media site Telegram this morning, Kirill Timoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine's national government, shared footage that he claimed showed Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov being carried out of his building and across a square in the city by Russian soldiers.

Melitopol became one of the first Russian cities to fall to Russia, after troops arrived in the city centre and raised their flag over the local administrative building on March 1.

Since then, Federov has remained in charge, with reports claiming he was abducted after refusing to collaborate with Russian forces in the wake of his city's occupation.

Just days earlier, the mayor had told the BBC that he would not be assisting the Russians 'in any way', claiming that troops had ransacked his office, forcing him and his team to continue trying to run the city from another location.

In his address, Zelenskyy claimed that the abduction had occurred as a result of the failure of Russia to find support for its invasion among Ukrainians, and warned that Russian troops were moving to attempt to 'eliminate' officials.

'Obviously this is a sign of the weakness of the invaders. They did not find any support on our land, although they counted on it,' he said. 'They did not find collaborators who would hand over the city and the power to the invaders. Therefore they have switched to a new stage of terror... they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of the legitimate local Ukrainian authorities.

'It's a democratic world here. Therefore the capture of the mayor of Melitopol is a crime not only against a particular person, not only against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. This is a crime against democracy.'

In the hours since the reports of his abduction emerged, hundreds of Melitopol residents took to the streets demanding the release of Federov, with protests having taken place in the city almost daily since it fell to the Russians more than a week ago.

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Featured Image Credit: SSSCIP/Ukraine embassy

Topics: Russia, Ukraine, World News