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Over 1.5K civilians killed, Mayor kidnapped as Melitopol falls to Russia

On February 25, the second day of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops entered the southeastern city of Melitopol

Saturday March 12, 2022 10:25 AM, IANS

Ivan Fedorov

Kiev: Ukrainian authorities have said that 1,500 civilians have been killed and the Russian troops have "kidnapped" Ivan Fedorov, the Mayor of Melitopol city which has fallen to Moscow.

The announcement was first made by Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the President's Office, in a social media post on Friday night.

Later, the Ukrainian Parliament also confirmed the development, saying in a tweet on Friday that a "group of 10 occupiers kidnapped the mayor of Melitopol... He refused to cooperate with the enemy".

Condemning the abduction, the country's Foreign Ministry called on the "international community to respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Federov and other civilians, and to increase pressure on Russia to end its barbaric war against the Ukrainian people".

On February 25, the second day of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops entered the southeastern city.

In his latest video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday accused Russia of holding the Mayor hostage, saying that Moscow was now resorting to terror tactics as the invasion continued for the 17th day.

He said "the actions of the Russian invaders will be equated with the actions of terrorists", reports the BBC.

1,582 civilians killed

In a social media post late Friday night, the Mariupol City Council said that at least "1,582 civilian residents of Mariupol have been killed by Russian occupying forces over the 12 days of the city's blockade, and ruthless firing on residential neighbourhoods", reports the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that authorities will again try to evacuate stranded people from Mariupol as many earlier attempts have failed due to the Russian bombing and shelling.

In a video address, the Minister said a humanitarian cargo should be delivered to Mariupol, and on the way back people will have the opportunity of being evacuated, the BBC reported.

Civilians killed in Ukraine

Earlier on Friday, Iryna Vereschuk, Minister of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, called the situation in Mariupol a "humanitarian catastrophe", saying that some "300,000 people are suffering from lack of water, cold and hunger" as humanitarian aid have not reached the city due to blockades.

She also claimed that currently there was only one road from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhya, via Orikhiv and Polohy, as all others have been destroyed or mined.

On Wednesday, Mariupol witnessed one of the worst attacks since Russia started its war on February 24 when a children and maternity hospital was shelled, killing three people and injuring 17 others.


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