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'They have transitioned into a new stage of terror': Ukraine accuses Russia of kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol

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Aleksandr Gusev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ukraine is saying that Russia has abuducted Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol.

"They have transitioned into a new stage of terror, in which they try to physically liquidate representatives of Ukraine’s lawful local authorities," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared in a video address Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Zelenskyy's comments come as Ukraine fights to repel Russian invaders who have been conducting a brutal campaign that has wreaked death and destruction.

The AP reported that the website for the prosecutor's office of the Luhansk People's Republic, a Russia-backed rebel area of Ukraine, indicates that there was a criminal case against the mayor. The outlet said that the office accused the man of "terrorist activities."

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared in a Facebook post, "Russian troops, who have been launching missile and bomb attacks on civilian facilities and infrastructure in Ukraine, including children's hospitals and schools, over the course of two week, are cynically accusing the Mayor of 'terrorism.'"

"We call on the international community to respond immediately to the abduction of Ivan Fedorov and other civilians, and to increase pressure on Russia to end its barbaric war against the Ukrainian people," the statement said.

"We will not fight a war against Russia in Ukraine," President Biden said on Friday. He warned that conflict between NATO and Russia would mark "World War III."

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