Who is Ivan Fedorov? Ukrainian Mayor of Melitopol reportedly abducted in viral video

Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, has allegedly been kidnapped by Russian soldiers (Image via Embassy of Ukraine)
Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, has allegedly been kidnapped by Russian soldiers (Image via Embassy of Ukraine)

Kirill Timoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, posted a video of Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the city of Melitopol, being kidnapped by Russian forces on Friday. The jarring footage showcased him with his face covered by a black bag and being forcefully taken out of an office building by Russian soldiers.

Ukraine's parliament put out a statement on Twitter about Ivan Fedorov's kidnapping. It read:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the kidnapping in a video posted on Friday night. He called Fedorov "a mayor who bravely defends Ukraine and the members of his community." He then compared the Russian military to "ISIS terrorists" and added:

"They have transitioned into a new stage of terror, in which they try to physically liquidate representatives of Ukraine's lawful local authorities."

The prosecutor's office of Luhansk People's Republic, a Moscow-based rebel region in Eastern Ukraine, accused the mayor of "terrorist activities" and claimed that there was a criminal case against him. However, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry shot down the accusations.

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Who is Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol?

The 33-year-old has been serving as the mayor of the city since 2020. He was appointed as the first deputy head of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Council before this. He has also been a member of the Melitopol City of Council.

On March 6, Ivan Fedorov was awarded the Order for Courage III Class for his significant contributions to protecting state sovereignty and territorial integrity. This comes after he selflessly defended settlements from Russian invaders.

Unfortunately, the mayor is not the only regional official who Russian forces have abducted. The deputy head of the regional council of Zaporizhzhia, which is 120 kilometers north of Melitopol, was kidnapped and released a few days ago.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry put out a statement on Facebook urging global communities to react to the kidnapping of Ivan Fedorov and the treatment of other civilians in Ukraine. They pleaded netizens to do so in hopes:

"to strengthen pressure on Russia to force it to end the barbaric war against the Ukrainian people."

They added in their announcement:

"The facts of the kidnapping of the mayor of Melitopol, as well as hundreds of other facts of war crimes of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian land, are carefully documented by law enforcement agencies. The culprits of this and other crimes will be brought to the harshest accountability."

Before the Russian invasion, the city of Melitopol had approximately 150,000 inhabitants. The city is currently in control of the Russians.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer