A dramatic video has emerged that allegedly shows Russian forces abducting the mayor of Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine that has fallen under Russian control. According to Ukraine's parliament, Mayor Ivan Fedorov, a Zelensky loyal, was detained by approximately 10 people while in the city center and then abducted.
Fedorov's kidnapping was caught on CCTV camera as he was dragged away by the group of armed men from a government building on Friday. Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, was the first to report about the abduction of Melitopol mayor. As of now, there is no news on Fedorov's whereabouts.
Moment of Horror
The footage of the alleged abduction was shared by the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine. Later, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office in Kyiv, confirmed Fedorov's kidnapping while sharing the footage on social media.
According to him, 10 people entered the premises of the crisis center, put a bag on the mayor's head and took him in an unknown direction. The video also shows a person with their head covered in a black bag being led out of an office building by soldiers.
Fedorov was taken from the city's crisis center by a group of about 10 Russian troops â who put a plastic bag over his head â after he "refused to cooperate with the enemy," Ukraine's parliament said in a statement on Twitter.
There was no immediate comment from Moscow on Fedorov's fate and his whereabouts are still unknown. Fedorov is believed to be a Zelensky loyalist and Ukrainian officials believe that was the main reason behind his abduction.
All in Chaos
The ministry said Russian forces were "cynically accusing the mayor of terrorism" and his life may be in danged after the abduction. The ministry has referred to the incident as a war crime and asked Ukraine's partners to increase pressure on Russia in reaction to the mayor's kidnapping and ongoing attacks on civilians.
"We call on the international community to respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Federov and other civilians, and to increase pressure on Russia to end its 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 culprits of this and other crimes will be brought to the harshest accountability."
Later, Zelensky also confirmed the news. "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 in a video message.
According to the Ukrayinska Pravda news website, Russian forces stormed Melitopol on the second day of their assault, on February 25. Fedorov spearheaded many anti-invasion rallies after the Russian offensive, according to the news agency. Thousands of people attended a rally on March 2 as part of this effort.
Fedorov told Ukrayinska Pravda on March 5 that the city's condition was becoming "difficult" owing to food and medicine shortages. He further said that Melitopol authorities had requested that Russian forces provide a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to flee the city, but that the request had been denied.
However, days after that he was kidnapped and now his fate is unknown.