War in Ukraine: cases of kidnappings and disappearances recorded in Melitopol

Audio 01:19

Ukrainians fleeing Mariupol and Melitopol arrive at a registration center in Zaporizhia on April 1, 2022. AFP - EMRE CAYLAK

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

In towns occupied by Russian forces, cases of kidnappings and disappearances are reported.

This is the case in Melitopol in the south, where the mayor, kidnapped last month, was released in exchange for several Russian soldiers.

Volunteers are now working in Zaporizhia, some 150 km away, to identify missing persons.

Since the start of the war, 30 people have been abducted.

Thirteen are now missing.


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With our special correspondents in 

Zaporijjia ,

Anastasia Becchio


Boris Vichith

She now lives far from Melitopol.

Svitlana Zalizetska was the editor of the city's main news site.

After the arrival of the Russian forces, she was summoned by the new authorities, who asked her to collaborate 

I told them that I had no intention of collaborating with this occupying power because I love Ukraine.

Half an hour after this discussion, I learned that they had come to seek the mayor and that they had offered to cooperate with him. 


The mayor is taken hostage, Svitlana decides to hastily leave Melitopol.

The Russians then hold his father hostage for 3 days.

They said they would release my father when I stop writing bad things about them.

Later that evening, a man who introduced himself as Serhii told me that I was responsible for Russian soldiers being killed because of my posts.


Everyone had hoped that it would all end soon, but every day it gets worse and worse.

They kidnap anyone: a person who walks in the city, a businessman, a deputy, a civil servant or even their parents.

If you have a son who fought in the Donbass, they kidnap you too.

Testimony of Svitlana Zalizetska

Anastasia Becchio Boris Vichith

Alongside the exiled mayor's team, Uliana Simonenko lists the kidnappings carried out by the Russian military and locals who have passed through their camp.

In Melitopol, there is a self-proclaimed power, which has created a self-proclaimed police.

They are collaborationist Ukrainians who have betrayed their country. 


People whom the Ukrainian power plans to try for collaboration.


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