After Russian troops accused of kidnapping the mayor, thousands of Ukrainians protested in Melitopol’s streets.
The parliament of Ukraine claims that Ivan Fedorov was kidnapped and held captive by armed men working for the Kremlin.
Minimum of 2,000 protestors have marched through the streets in protest against the alleged abduction.
Kirill Timoshenko shared a Telegram video that shows the moment Mr Fedorov was captured, and then escorted through a square in the centre of the city.
Melitopol is located 120 miles (190km west) of Mariupol, in the southeastern Ukraine. It has a population estimated at 150,000, and was under Russian control on 26 Februar.
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Mariia Ionova, a Ukrainian MP, posted this tweet: “Kidnapped Melitopol City Mayor Ivan Fedorov is being made to breach his oath to Ukrainian people and join the invaders’ side. Or resign.”
She tweeted earlier that Fedorov was “staying inside the besieged capital to ensure the essential needs for the citizens”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy stated that the abduction was similar to Islamic State terrorists.
“They have entered a new stage in terror in which they attempt to physically liquidate representatives from Ukraine’s lawful local authorities,” Mr. Zelenskyy stated in a video.
Fedorov’s detention was an attempt “to bring the city to its knees,” he said.
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Ukraine hopes that the leaders of the world will show their influence on the liberation of a man who embodies Ukrainians who don’t give up, he stated.
Fedorov is facing ‘false terrorism allegations
The Luhansk People’s Republic, a Russian-backed rebel area in eastern Ukraine, has claimed that there is a criminal case against Melitopol’s mayor for terrorist activities.
Fedorov is also accused in financing Right Sector, a nationalist militia that “commits terrorist crimes against civilians” within the Donbas region.
Officials stated that they are looking for Mr Fedorov, and have asked anyone who has any information to contact them.
The foreign ministry of Ukraine said that the terrorist allegations against Fedorov were false and that Russian forces have violated international law.
It stated that the abduction of Melitopol’s mayor is a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions (and the Additional Protocol), which prohibit civilian hostages in war.
President Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians not to give up, saying that it was impossible to predict how long it will take to liberate their land. However, it is possible to predict that it will be done.
He warned that millions will die if the world doesn’t act now to stop bombing. He also told Sky News’ Alex Crawford that Mr Putin was “directly to hell”.