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Russia establishes “new mayor” in Ukrainian city allegedly kidnapped predecessor

Russia established a “new mayor” in the Ukrainian city of Melitopol after the elected mayor was kidnapped by Russian troops.

The city, now under Russian control, is strategically located between Mariupol and Kherson, and the Russians took over immediately during the invasion, but there have been protests ever since.

Mayor Ivan Fedorov was taken away from a government building on Friday by armed men. Russian officials later claimed he had committed a terrorist crime.

Local government in the region said Galina Danilchenko, a former member of the city council, is now the mayor. She was formerly a member of the opposition to Congress.

In a video statement, Danilchenko stated that her main task was “to take all necessary steps to bring the city back to normal.”

New York Times correspondent Neil MacFarquer tweeted that Danilchenko was immediately accused of being a “traitor” by local authorities.

Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov (courtesy)

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

“We appeal to all world leaders who speak to Moscow, France, Germany, Israel, etc. Our demands are clear. He must be released soon.”

In a tweet about a phone call with Bennett on Saturday, Zelensky said, “We talked about the prospects for Russia’s aggression and peace talks. We must stop cracking down on civilians. I was asked. “

According to the Ukrainian president and parliament, Fedorov was abducted by Russian soldiers occupying Melitopol’s because he “refused to cooperate with the enemy.”

The Ukrainian parliament said in a statement that the mayor was arrested while working on supply issues at the city’s crisis management center.

Zelensky said 2,000 Ukrainians had indicated that they would oppose the Russian invasion in Melitopol on Saturday and demand the release of the mayor.

“Do you hear Moscow? If 2,000 people were demonstrating against the occupation in Melitopol, how many would be in Moscow against the war?” He said in the video.

Before the Russian invasion began on February 24, Melitopol’s population was just over 150,000.

Zelensky said on Saturday that he was trying to establish a “pseudo-republic” in the area that Russia had occupied since the invasion on February 24, and that his collaborators “would not be forgiven.”

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