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Heroic Ukrainian protesters brawl with Russian soldiers as they demand release of Melitopol mayor

Dozens of heroic Ukrainian residents brawled with Russian troops in Melitopol on Sunday, two days after their mayor was kidnapped by Moscow’s forces. 

Video posted online shows a Russian soldier forcefully shoving one protester back into the crowd of demonstrators chanting anti-Moscow slogans.

The soldier first pushes the protester back with his hand before using his weapon to scare off other demonstrators who step forward to attack the Russian. 

Footage then appears to show the soldier shouting at the crowd, many of whom are waving the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag, to stay back while brandishing his weapon in their direction. 

Melitopol residents had gathered for the third day yesterday after Mayor Ivan Fedorov was taken captive on Friday because ‘he refused to cooperate with the enemy’.

Chilling CCTV footage showed the moment Fedorov had a plastic bag placed over his head as he was escorted out of a building and across Melitopol’s Victory Square by 10 armed men. Russia has not commented on the fate of Mr Fedorov. 

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky has called for help from Germany and France to secure Fedorov’s release. The kidnap was also condemned by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a post on Twitter. 

Dozens of heroic Ukrainian residents brawled with Russian troops in Melitopol on Sunday, two days after their mayor was kidnapped by Moscow’s forces

Video posted online shows a Russian soldier forcefully shoving one protester back into the crowd of demonstrators chanting anti-Moscow slogans

Video posted online shows a Russian soldier forcefully shoving one protester back into the crowd of demonstrators chanting anti-Moscow slogans 

Footage then appears to show the soldier shouting at the crowd, many of whom are waving the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag, to stay back while brandishing his weapon in their direction

Footage then appears to show the soldier shouting at the crowd, many of whom are waving the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag, to stay back while brandishing his weapon in their direction

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Saturday on the leaders of France and Germany to help secure the release of the mayor of Melitopol.

‘During the night and today we are talking to our partners about the situation with our mayor. Our demand is clear: he must be released immediately. 

‘I have already phoned [German] Chancellor Olaf Scholz. I have spoken to [French] President Emmanuel Macron… I will speak to all the necessary people to get our people released,’ Zelensky said in a video released by the Ukrainian presidency.  

A day later, Russian forces captured the mayor of Dniprorudne in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast region of southeast Ukraine. 

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Sunday that ‘Russian war criminals’ had ‘abducted another democratically elected Ukrainian mayor, Yevhen Matveyev’.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has condemned both kidnappings in a post on Twitter.   

‘It is yet another attack on democratic institutions in Ukraine and an attempt to establish illegitimate alternative government structures in a sovereign country,’ he added.

European Council President Charles Michel also condemned ‘in the strongest terms Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Ukraine as well as Russia’s kidnapping of the mayors of Melitopol and Dniprorudne and other Ukrainians.

‘These kidnappings and other pressure on Ukrainian local authorities constitute another flagrant violation of international law,’ he added.

Following Fedorov’s capture on Friday, huge crowds ignored Vladimir Putin’s    demands to stay away as they gathered outside the building where the city chief was last seen being dragged away by Moscow’s troops. 

Other protestors were pictured enthusiastically waving placards calling for the mayor’s release.   

President Zelensky on Friday described Mr Fedorov's (pictured) alleged abduction as a 'crime' against 'democracy' as he said the acts of Russian invaders would be treated as 'terrorism'

President Zelensky on Friday described Mr Fedorov’s (pictured) alleged abduction as a ‘crime’ against ‘democracy’ as he said the acts of Russian invaders would be treated as ‘terrorism’

Shocking video footage shows the moment Melitopol's mayor Ivan Fedorov was kidnapped by Russian troops after he 'refused to co-operate with the enemy'

Shocking video footage shows the moment Melitopol’s mayor Ivan Fedorov was kidnapped by Russian troops after he ‘refused to co-operate with the enemy’

Video footage, shared by officials, appeared to show crowds of defiant residents gathering near an occupied administration building to protest the alleged kidnapping of Mr Fedorov

Video footage, shared by officials, appeared to show crowds of defiant residents gathering near an occupied administration building to protest the alleged kidnapping of Mr Fedorov

Ukraine’s premier heaped praise on the citizens of Melitopol who ‘did not surrender to the invaders’ and described Fedorov’s alleged abduction as a ‘crime’ against ‘democracy’.

He added that Fedorov’s capture was an ‘attempt to bring the city to its knees’, called for the immediate release of the besieged settlement’s mayor and said the acts of Russian invaders would be treated as ‘terrorism’.

‘The capture of the mayor of Melitopol is therefore a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy itself.

‘The acts of the Russian invaders will be regarded like those of Islamic State terrorists,’ he said.

Zelensky also called on Russian forces to heed the calls of residents in the occupied city of Melitopol who protested to demand that Ivan Fedorov be freed.

At a press conference, Zelensky said: ‘The demand is simple – to release [Fedorov] from captivity immediately’. 

‘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 added. 

Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs described the alleged abduction as a war crime, adding: ‘We call on the international community to respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians, and to increase pressure on Russia to end its barbaric war against the Ukrainian people.’ 

The prosecutor’s office of the Luhansk People’s Republic, a Moscow-backed rebel region in eastern Ukraine, said on its website there was a criminal case against Mr Fedorov.

The office accused him of ‘terrorist activities’ and of financing the nationalist militia Right Sector to ‘commit terrorist crimes against Donbass civilians’. 

Russian forces captured Melitopol, which has a population of 150,000, on February 26. 


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