Ukrainian military authorities have claimed that Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol who was allegedly kidnapped by Russian forces on March 11, was taken to the separatist region of Luhansk.
According to the latest update from the military administration of the Zaporizhzhya region, where Melitopol is located, Fedorov is currently in Luhansk, “where he is charged with terrorism”, the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper reported.
The administration said a protest rally in Berdyansk on Monday demanding Fedorov’s release was obstructed by Russian forces.
“Armed Russian troops surrounded the square and pushed people back. Occupation forces accompanied their actions with loudspeaker warnings to ban gatherings,” he added.
Participants in the rally chanted slogans in Ukrainian and Russian such as “Melitopol is Ukraine” and “Go home while you are alive”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the mayor of Melitopol was tortured so he could record a video showing his support for the Russian authorities.
Since Russia began its invasion on February 24, there have been several kidnappings.
On March 10, Russian forces abducted Leyla Ibragimova, a deputy from the Zaporizhzhya Regional Council, in Melitopol. She was later released, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
During a demonstration in the city on March 12, activist Olga Haisumova was kidnapped in the middle of the demonstration.
Meanwhile, the fate of the kidnapped mayor of Dniprorudne, Yevhen Matveyev, and the head of the Melitopol district council, Serhiy Priyma, remains unknown.