Zelensky accuses Russia of kidnapping Ukrainian mayor
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor to the southern city of Melitopol and equated Russian forces to “ISIS terrorists” during a video address late Friday night.
“Today in Melitopol the invaders captured mayor of the city, Ivan Fedorov. A man who courageously defends Ukraine and the people of his community. 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. Because for years they have been lying to themselves that people in Ukraine were supposedly waiting for Russia to come,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky said that the move constituted a “crime against democracy” and added that Ukraine demanded the release of the mayor.
“They have switched to a new stage of terror, when they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of the legitimate local Ukrainian authorities. It is clear to any democratic state in the world that a legitimately elected mayor is a true representative of the people,” the Ukrainian president said, later hitting Russia over its “autocratic rule.”
Footage that appeared to show Russian soldiers taking Fedorov away in Melitopol was broadcasted by CNN.
Ukrainian Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko also confirmed on Friday that the mayor had been taken away by the Russian military.
“According to preliminary information, the mayor of the city of Melitopol, Ivan Fyodorov, was abducted an hour ago by the invaders,” Tymoshenko said.
The development comes as at least one top U.S. official has now accused Russia of engaging in “war crimes.”
The Russian invasion, which has reportedly hit sites like a Holocaust memorial and a children’s hospital in Ukraine, has been widely condemned by the international community.
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