Mayor of Ukrainian city abducted by Russian troops, officials say

Video appears to show the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol being kidnapped by Russian forces on Friday.

The footage, shared by the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, shows a person with their head covered in a black bag being led out of an office building by soldiers.

Mayor Ivan Fedorov was taken from the city’s crisis center by a group of about 10 Russian troops – who put a plastic bag over his head – after he “refused to cooperate with the enemy,” Ukraine’s parliament said in a statement on Twitter.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said Russia had “cynically” accused the mayor of “terrorism” and kidnapped him.

It called the act a war crime and urged Ukraine’s allies to step up pressure on Russia in response to the mayor’s abduction and continued attacks on civilians.

“We urge the international community to immediately react to the abduction of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians in Ukraine, to strengthen pressure on Russia to force it to end the barbaric war against the Ukrainian people,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

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“The facts of the kidnapping of the mayor of Melitopol, as well as hundreds of other facts of war crimes of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian land, are carefully documented by law enforcement agencies. The culprits of this and other crimes will be brought to the harshest accountability. ”

Melitopol, a city of about 150,000 people in southern Ukraine, is currently under Russian control, officials said.

Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov
Melitopol’s mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was taken by about 10 Russian troops.
Embassy of Ukraine
Map of the Ukraine war as of March 11, 2022.
Map of the Ukraine war as of March 11, 2022.

Ukraine’s parliament said Russian forces detained civilians during protests against Moscow’s occupation, including a regional councilwoman, who was later released.

Over 2.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced since Russia launched its invasion over two weeks ago on Feb. 24, and hundreds of civilians have been confirmed killed in the violence, according to the United Nations.

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