War in Ukraine: Russian forces accused of abducting second mayor

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Ukraine’s government has accused the Russian military of abducting another mayor in an area that it has captured. Yevhen Matveyev was seized in the southern town of Dniprorudne, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, accusing Russia of “terror” tactics.

Earlier, Russia installed a new mayor in Melitopol, after allegedly abducting the city’s previous incumbent.

Ukraine’s president also accused Russia of trying to create “pseudo-republics” to break his country apart. In her first public appearance,  Melitopol’s newly installed mayor Galina Danilchenko urged residents not to take part in “extremist actions” and declared her main task was construction of “basic mechanisms under the new reality”.

Hundreds of people took part in a protest outside the city hall on Saturday to demand the release of previous incumbent Ivan Fedorov,  who had refused to co-operate with Russian troops since they took the city on the third day of the invasion. Mr Fedorov was last seen on Friday evening being dragged away from the city’s crisis center by several armed men with a bag over his head.

Ukrainian officials shared a video of the incident and said the armed men were Russian soldiers.

“We are not co-operating with the Russians in any way,” Mr Fedorov had told the BBC earlier in the week. “They have not tried to help us, they cannot help us, and we do not want their help.”

Russian authorities have not commented on his disappearance, but the prosecutor’s office of the Russian-backed breakaway eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk has reportedly accused him of “terrorist activities”.

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