The Government of Ukraine denounced that the mayor of the city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, has been kidnapped by a group of Russian soldiers and is now unaccounted for.
“According to preliminary information, an hour ago the occupants kidnapped the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov,” the deputy head of the Cabinet of the Ukrainian Presidency, Kirill Timoshenko, denounced in a statement collected by Ukrinform.
Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko has specified that Fedorov was kidnapped during a raid carried out by a dozen people in the crisis center where the mayor was.
Melitopol, in the Zaporiya region, is currently under occupation by Russian forces. Fedorov, according to the Ukrainian agency UNIAN, had refused to collaborate with the Russians and had decided to keep the Ukrainian flag in the City Hall.
“They put a bag over the mayor’s head and took him off to an unknown destination,” Gerashchenko said, without giving further details for the time being and awaiting a response from Russia.
This week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded Fedorov an order of honour, as part of his recognition of regional leaders who have distinguished themselves the most since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in defending their communities.
After the capture of the city by Russian troops, Fedorov remained in Melitopol to ensure the operation of all life support systems. In addition, the city’s inhabitants hold daily rallies against the Russian occupiers.
“This is not my personal award, but that of all the inhabitants of Melitopol who fearlessly take to the streets of the city every day to declare to the invaders that Melitopol was, is and will be Ukrainian. The war will end. It will become a symbol of the indestructible spirit of the inhabitants of the entire territory of Melitopol.” Fedorov noted after receiving the Order of Valor of the Third degree, reported the Zaporizhzhia portal.
Despite the occupation of Russian troops in the city, residents continue to demonstrate in the streets. “In case our phones are disconnected, we agree to meet every day at 12 noon,” explains Ana, a 32-year-old musician, who acknowledges that, although she is a little scared, she prefers “to die in Ukraine than to live in DNR”, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
According to several sources consulted by EFE, the Russian troops intended to gain the support of the local population of the cities near the border, mostly Russian-speaking, but since the first days of the war, its streets have been the scene of protests against the Russian occupation.
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