Speed Reads

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Protesters in Russian-controlled Melitopol demand return of abducted mayor

Protesters in the Russian-controlled southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol took to the streets Saturday after occupying Russian forces kidnapped the city's mayor on Friday and installed a new mayor in his place, The Washington Post reported.

According to CNN, a prosecutor from the Russian-backed separatist Luhansk People's Republic said Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov was under investigation for terrorism.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the abduction a "crime against democracy," while Ukrainian diplomat Olexander Scherba suggested that Fedorov's captors were torturing him "to force [him] to collaborate," per the Post.

The Kyiv Independent reported Sunday that, according to a "document provided by the ZN news outlet," occupying Russian forces have imposed curfews, banned protests, prohibited citizens from spreading "information about Russian military movements," and restricted the sale and possession of firearms in the cities they control.

On March 5, protests erupted in Kherson after Russian forces captured the city three days earlier. Around 2,000 demonstrators reportedly gathered in the city's central square. Russian troops fired warning shots to disperse the crowd, but no casualties were reported.