Ukrainian forces free kidnapped Melitopol mayor from Russian captivity, Zelenskyy's office says

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  • Ukrainian forces have freed Melitopol mayor Ivan Fyodorov from Russian captivity, authorities said.

  • A top Ukrainian official said Fyodorov is safe and would return to work soon.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously slammed Russian forces for kidnapping the mayor.

Ukrainian forces have freed Melitopol mayor Ivan Fyodorov from Russian captivity, a top Ukrainian government official said on Wednesday.

"Good news from Zaporizhiya, a special operation aiming to free the mayor of Melitopol Ivan Federov has just now been successfully completed," Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, said in a video message.

Tymoshenko said Fyodorov is now safe. He added that the Ukrainian government would "never leave our own people."

"Very soon Ivan will once again return to his duties as mayor of Ukrainian Melitopol," Tymoshenko added.

The 33-year-old mayor called the Russian forces "occupiers" once they overtook his city, according to The New York Times.

Security camera footage showed someone being escorted out of a Melitopol government building, The Times reported. A Russian news agency later said that Fyodorov was being taken to a breakaway area that Moscow has claimed control over.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously demanded Fyodorov's release. He called the mayor's capture an attempt "to bring the city to its knees."

"The capture of the mayor of Melitopol is a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine," Zelenskyy said at the time. "It is a crime against democracy itself. The actions of the Russian invaders will be equated with those of Islamic State terrorists."

Translations by Nikita Angarski.

Read the original article on Business Insider