Mayor of Ukrainian City Melitopol Abducted by Russia, Officials Say

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  • Russian authorities kidnapped a Ukrainian mayor on Friday, Ukraine officials said. 
  • The Ukrainian Parliament said Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov was taken from the city’s crisis center.
  • He was taken by 10 people and had a plastic bag placed over his head, the officials said.

The mayor of Melitopol, Ukraine was abducted by Russian forces on Friday, Ukrainian authorities said. 

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said Mayor Ivan Fedorov’s abduction was “a war crime under the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol that prohibit the taking of civilian hostages during the war.”

“We call on the international community to respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians, and to increase pressure on Russia to end its barbaric war against the Ukrainian people,” the ministry’s statement said. 

The Ukrainian Parliament said Fedorov was kidnapped by 10 occupiers in the city’s crisis center, adding that a plastic bag was placed over his head. 

The Ministry said Fedorov’s abduction was one of several war crimes committed by Russia. 

“Russian troops, who have been launching missile and bomb attacks on civilian facilities and infrastructure in Ukraine, including children’s hospitals and schools, over the course of two week, are cynically accusing the mayor of ‘terrorism,'” the ministry wrote on its Facebook page.

In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Fedorov’s abduction was a sign of Russia’s weakness. 

“They didn’t find any support on our land even though they counted on it,” Zelenskyy said of the invading forces. 

Zelenskyy said since Russia couldn’t easily take over cities, their new tactic is to remove elected officials. He called it a crime against democracy and compared the action to “ISIS terrorists.”

The Ukrainian president has previously said that he and his family are Russia’s primary target. 

“According to the information we have, the enemy marked me as target No. 1, my family as target No. 2,” Zelenskyy told Ukrainians in an early morning address on February 24.

Ukrainian authorities said this week Zelenskyy has survived more than 12 assassination attempts.

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