Ukrainian town mayor kidnapped by Russian troops; The United States and its allies end normal trade with Moscow

He said the mayor was arrested while at the city’s crisis center to deal with supply issues.

In a video message Friday night, Zelensky confirmed the kidnapping, calling Fedorov “a mayor who bravely defends Ukraine and members of his community.”

“This is obviously a sign of weakness of the invaders… They have moved to a new stage of terror in which they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of legitimate local Ukrainian authorities,” he said.

“The capture of the mayor of Melitopol is therefore a crime, not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not only against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy itself… The acts of the Russian invaders will be seen as those of the terrorists of the Islamic State,” he said.

Deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Kirillo Timoshenko, previously posted a video on Telegram showing soldiers exiting a building holding a man dressed in black, his head apparently covered with a black bag.

According to Ukraine’s parliament, another regional official, the deputy head of the Zaporizhzhia regional council – 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Melitopol – was abducted and later released a few days ago.

Before the Russian invasion, Melitopol had a population of just over 150,000.

Meanwhile, the United States and its allies decided on Friday to end normal trade relations with Russia, as President Joe Biden vowed the West would make Vladimir Putin pay the price for his invasion of Ukraine.

Biden announced the new step, which would allow Western countries to inflict steep tariff hikes on Russian products, in coordination with NATO allies, the Group of Seven and the European Union.

Washington and Brussels also said they would halt luxury goods exports to Russia in what EU chief Ursula von der Leyen described as a “direct blow to Russia’s elite”.

Biden warned in his White House speech that “Putin must pay the price” as an “aggressor” in the war with his ex-Soviet neighbor.

Read all minute by minute updates for Uttar Pradesh Election Results 2022, Punjab Election Results 2022, Uttarakhand Election Results 2022, Manipur Election Results 2022 and Goa elections 2022.

Click here for the live result per seat updates.