Russian forces have abducted a second Ukrainian mayor, the Ukrainian government said.
“Today, Russian war criminals abducted another democratically elected Ukrainian mayor, head of Dniprorudne Yevhen Matveyev. Getting zero local support, invaders turn to terror,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba said on Twitter.
The abduction came after Russian forces allegedly kidnapped Melitopol acting mayor Ivan Fedorov and installed Galina Danilchenko as the new mayor.
In an earlier statement, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry identified Fedorov’s abduction as “a war crime under the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol that prohibit the taking of civilian hostages during the war.”
Hundreds protested outside the Melitopol city hall to demand Fedorov’s release.
In a video address on March 12, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky demanded Fedorov’s immediate release and accused Russia of trying to create “pseudo-republics” to divide and conquer Ukraine.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borelle Fontelles condemned the abductions.
“It is yet another attack on democratic institutions in Ukraine and an attempt to establish illegitimate alternative government structures in a sovereign country,” Fontelles said on Twitter.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told CNN on March 13 that he was worried he was a target.
“Every Ukrainian right now is actually a target,” Klitschko said.
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