'A new stage of terror': Zelenskyy compares Russia to Isis after Ukraine mayor 'kidnapped'

12 March 2022, 07:26 | Updated: 12 March 2022, 08:06

President Zelenskyy attacked Russia over the alleged kidnapping
President Zelenskyy attacked Russia over the alleged kidnapping. Picture: Alamy/Getty/Social media

By Will Taylor

Ukraine's president said Russia has moved into "a new stage of terror" as he accused invading forces of kidnapping a city's mayor.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared the action to Isis's after a video emerged of armed men apparently carrying Melitopol's mayor Ivan Fedorov. The city was captured during the invasion.

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

The video was posted to Telegram by the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, Kirill Timoshenko. Crowds were later seen gathered in Melitopol to call for the mayor's release.

On the other side, the prosecutor's office for the Luhansk People's Republic, a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine that is supported by Russia, claimed it had a criminal case against Mr Fedorov.

It accused him of "terrorist activities" and financing a nationalist militia called Right Sector to "commit terrorist crimes against Donbass civilians", and said it was looking for him.

Read more: Boris to ramp up pressure on Kremlin as Ukraine fears Belarus could invade

Read more: Chernobyl catastrophe: Putin 'stockpiles Ukrainian bodies for nuclear terror plot'

Further east from the southern city of Melitopol, fears have grown for people trapped in besieged Mariupol.

Encircled by Russian units, the city is cut off from new supplies of food and medicine, and local authorities said 1,582 people have died in the 12 days of coming under siege.

It also appears Russia is trying to encircle Kyiv, the capital. The British Ministry of Defence said on Saturday morning that the bulk of Russian forces north west of Kyiv are 25km from the city.

"Elements of the large Russian column north of Kyiv have dispersed. This is likely to support a Russian attempt to encircle the city," and update said.

"Beyond Kyiv, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain encircled and continue to suffer heavy Russian shelling."