A new mayor has been appointed in Ukraine’s Melitopol city as President Volodymyr Zelensky tries to secure the release of the elected mayor who has reportedly been detained by Russian troops, according to the local administration. Galina Danilchenko was introduced on local TV as the newly installed mayor, CNN reported citing the statement published on Zaporizhzhia regional administration website.
On Friday, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said that the abduction of Meritopol’s elected mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was a gross violation of international law and a “war crime under the Geneva Conventions”. The ministry called upon the international community to “respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians”.
“The fact of the abduction of the Mayor of Melitopol, along with hundreds of other facts of war crimes by Russian occupiers on the Ukrainian soil, are being carefully documented by law enforcement agencies. The perpetrators of this and other crimes will be brought to the strictest responsibility,” the ministry said in a Facebook post.
Zelensky, meanwhile, has spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett seeking help in the release of the detained mayor.
“I spoke with @OlafScholz, @EmmanuelMacron. We discussed countering the aggressor, RF crimes against civilians. I ask my partners to help in releasing the captive mayor of Melitopol. Prospects for peace talks were also discussed. We must stop the aggressor together,” the Ukrainian president tweeted.
In another tweet, he said, “Continued dialogue with Israel PM @naftalibennett. We talked about Russian aggression and the prospects for peace talks. We must stop repressions against civilians: asked to assist in the release of the captive mayor of Melitopol and local public figures.”
Russia’s armed aggression has entered its18th day, with the latest satellite images suggesting troops planning a massive offensive in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.