The mayor of Melitopol, who was reportedly kidnapped by Russia forces five days ago, has been freed, according to advisers to the Ukrainian president.
President Volodymyr Zelensky had accused Russia of moving to a “new stage of terror” after Ukraine showed footage of what it said was the mayor, Ivan Fedorov, being led away blindfolded.
Melitopol was one of the first cities to fall to Russian forces, and a new mayor was installed. Ukraine’s government also accused Russia of abducting the mayor of the town of Dniprorudne.
After announcing Fedorov’s release, Ukrainian officials posted a video on social media of Zelensky calling the mayor and telling him he was “glad to hear the voice of a living man”.
Fedorov is heard thanking the president for “not abandoning me” and to say he will need “one or two days to recover, and then I will be at your command to contribute to our victory”.