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Ukraine says 2nd mayor abducted in Russian ‘terror’ tactics

Ukrainian foreign minister says head of Dniprorudne city council, Yevhen Matveyev, has been taken away by troops; mayor of Melitopol remains missing

Yevhen Matveyev, mayor of the Ukrainian city of Dniprorudne, who was allegedly abducted by Russian forces on March 13, 2022. (Ukranian Foreign Ministry)
Yevhen Matveyev, mayor of the Ukrainian city of Dniprorudne, who was allegedly abducted by Russian forces on March 13, 2022. (Ukranian Foreign Ministry)

Russian forces have abducted the second mayor of a Ukrainian city in a matter of days, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Sunday.

He said Yevhen Matveyev, mayor of the central city of Dniprorudne, was taken away by Russian invasion forces.

“Russian war criminals abducted another democratically elected Ukrainian mayor,” Kuleba tweeted. “Getting zero local support, invaders turn to terror.”

Kuleba called on the international community to stop “Russian terror against Ukraine and democracy.”

Earlier on Sunday, Russian installed a “new mayor” in the Ukrainian city of Melitopol, after its elected mayor was kidnapped by Russian troops.

Melitopol’s mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was taken away from a government building by armed men on Friday. Russian officials later claimed he had committed terror offenses.

The area’s regional administration said a former member of the city council, Galina Danilchenko, was now the mayor of Melitopol. She was previously a member of the opposition on the council. In a video statement Danilchenko said her main job now was to “take all necessary steps to get the city back to normal.”

Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov. (Courtesy)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday urged international leaders, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, to secure the release of missing mayor Fedorov.

“We appeal to all world leaders who speak to Moscow – France, Germany, Israel, and others,” he said. “Our demand is clear: he must be released immediately.”

In a tweet about his Saturday call with Bennett, Zelensky said, “We talked about Russian aggression and the prospects for peace talks. We must stop repressions against civilians: asked to assist in the release of captive mayor of Melitopol and local public figures.”

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