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Melitopol: New mayor installed in Russia-controlled city after kidnapping. Here’s what we know

Melitopol: New mayor installed in Russia-controlled city after kidnapping. Here’s what we know
1 hr 3 min ago

New mayor installed in Russia-controlled Melitopol after kidnapping. Here’s what we know

Galina Danilchenko
Galina Danilchenko (Melitopol Acting Mayor’s Office)

A new mayor has been installed in the Ukrainian city of Melitopol, which is under Russian military control, after the elected mayor was kidnapped on Friday, according to the Zaporozhye regional administration.

Here’s what we know about the situation in the city:

  • Melitopol is a city in southern Ukraine that lies between the besieged city of Mariupol and the now Russian-occupied city of Kherson. Russian forces occupied Melitopol within days of the invasion beginning, but the city has seen sporadic protests since.
  • On Friday, Melitopol mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was seen on video being led away from a government building in the city by armed men. 
  • A short time later, the Russian-backed Luhansk regional prosecutor claimed that Fedorov had committed terrorism offenses and was under investigation. According to a message on the Luhansk prosecutor’s website, Fedorov is being accused of assisting and financing terrorist activities and being part of a criminal community.
  • Fedorov’s detention by the armed men is the first known instance of a Ukrainian political official being detained by Russian, or Russian-backed forces, since the invasion began.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded his immediate release, saying it was “crime against democracy” and Russia has “switched to a new stage of terror” in its invasion by “trying to physically eliminate representatives of the legitimate local Ukrainian authorities.”
  • The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called Fedorov’s detention an “abduction” and a “war crime.”
  • Hundreds of people protested the kidnapping outside Melitopol’s city hall, with the crowd chanting “Freedom for the Mayor.”
  • On Saturday, the Zaporozhye regional administration installed a new mayor, Galina Danilchenko, a former member of the city council.
  • In her televised statement, which was posted by the regional administration on Telegram, Danilchenko said that her “main task is to take all necessary steps to get the city back to normal.” 
1 hr 3 min ago

Zelensky pleads for more aid, says 12,729 Ukrainians successfully evacuated Saturday

From CNN’s Mallory Gafas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Facebook)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was grateful for international support and pleaded with allies for more aid in an address Saturday.

“I keep reiterating to our allies and friends abroad; they have to keep doing more for our country, for Ukrainians and Ukraine. Because it is not only for Ukraine, but it is for all of Europe,” he said. “The evil which purposefully targets peaceful cities and ambulance vans and explodes hospitals will not stop with just one country if they have the strength to keep going.”

Zelensky also said evacuation corridors in Ukraine have been “working,” announcing 12,729 people were safely evacuated Saturday.

Zelensky also vowed to bring Russian occupiers and their sympathizers to justice, saying “all the occupiers and all the collaborators will know that Ukraine will not forget. Never, nothing. Ukraine will not forget. Ukraine will find them and will call them to responsibility, each one of them.”

1 hr 5 min ago

Seven civilians killed by Russian troops while trying to flee, Ukrainian Defense Ministry says

From CNN Staff

Seven civilians, including women and a child, were killed by Russian troops while trying to flee Ukraine’s Kyiv region, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed Saturday.

“Russians shot at a column of women and children in Kyiv region, who were trying to evacuate along a previously agreed ‘green’ corridor. The result of this brutal act — seven dead. One of them is a child,” a tweet from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

However, an update from the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine said the civilians were fleeing on a route that was not an agreed-upon “green corridor.” 

The group of women and children were attempting to evacuate near the village of Peremoga in Kyiv on Friday when they were shot at by Russians, according to Ukraine’s intelligence agency.

Russia did not immediately comment on this incident.

1 hr 1 min ago

Apparent Russian airstrikes cause significant destruction in Makariv, west of Kyiv

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy

Makariv, Ukraine
Makariv, Ukraine (From Telegram)

A large swath of Makariv, a village 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Kyiv, has sustained significant damage from apparent Russian airstrikes.

CNN geolocated and verified the authenticity of photos posted to social media on Saturday, which show major damage to residential apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility.

A stark image from Makariv shows a large hole in the northern wall of an apartment building. Many of the buildings in the photos have sustained damage on their northern facades, further evidence that points to Russian military strikes on civilian areas.

Several hundred feet east of that apartment building, a kindergarten also sustained significant damage.

Smoke can be observed still billowing up from the building, the roof has completely caved in and the windows have all been blown out. 

The Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed troops are not targeting civilians, despite repeated attacks on residential areas with no military value — such as schools, hospitals and apartment blocks.

At another apartment building just west of the school, another photo shows the roof and a number of upper floor residences destroyed.

Just south of the school, the Adonis-Makariv Medical and Diagnostic Center is seen on fire. The street in front of it is littered with debris and the windows have been blown out of the center.

A photo taken on the street in front of the center showed that the debris in front of it is all that remains of the north-facing front facade of the building.

Immediately west of the school and medical center, near the center of Makariv, a massive crater was observed in the road. The medical center can be seen in the background on fire. Next to that crater, another photo shows a residential building with a grocery store on the ground floor has been hit.

In the center of town, a cultural center that also houses government and police offices has been hit by a strike. A portion of the building was destroyed and a structure on the roof appeared to have been clipped by some sort of munition.

“Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes” was written on a large sign in the front of the building.

South of central Makariv, a preschool also sustained significant damage. The windows have been blown out and portions of the roof appear to be damaged.