Russian forces abduct Ukrainian mayor: Ukrainian officials

The mayor of a Russian-occupied city in Ukraine was abducted by Russian forces this week, Ukrainian officials said.

The alleged kidnapping came amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“According to preliminary information, the mayor of the city of Melitopol, Ivan Fyodorov, was abducted an hour ago by the invaders,” Ukraine’s Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko wrote on Telegram on Friday, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

According to the Ukrainian parliament’s Twitter page, “a group of 10 occupiers kidnapped” Fyodorov, who “refused to cooperate with the enemy.”

As he was abducted, Russian forces put a plastic bag over Fyodorov’s head, Ukraine’s parliament alleged.

Video posted to Twitter by the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine purported to show Fyodorov being abducted.

Melitopol has been occupied by Russian forces for more than a week, according to The New York Times.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry condemned the alleged kidnapping.

“The abduction of the mayor of Melitopol is classified as a war crime under the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol banning the capture of civilian hostages during the war,” the statement read. “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 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 statement added. “The culprits of this and other crimes will be brought to the harshest accountability.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said Russian forces had committed a “crime against democracy.”

“This is obviously a sign of weakness of the invaders. … They have moved to a new stage of terror in which they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of legitimate local Ukrainian authorities,” he said, according the Dutch outlet DW.

“The capture of the mayor of Melitopol is, therefore, a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy itself.

“The acts of the Russian invaders will be regarded like those of ‘Islamic State’ terrorists,” Zelenskyy said.