Russian Soldiers Threaten Civilians Public Executions Amid Peaceful Protests, Mayor Says

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A Russian  soldier on patrol in Kherson
A Russian soldier on patrol in Kherson

Russian forces in the occupied areas of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region have threatened to execute members of the local population amid peaceful protests and growing resistance, according to Ukrainian officials.

Occupying forces in the region have resorted to genocide since they did not receive support from either civilians or authorities, Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, said during a newscast on the Ukraine 24 television channel, according to Ukrinform.

“Resistance is only growing, and peaceful protests are growing, and the underground resistance is growing,” Fedorov said.

Russian forces now want to introduce the death penalty and conduct the punishment publicly to intimidate the population, The New Voice of Ukraine reported.

Russian forces have abducted more than 500 people within four months in Melitopol, and a new wave of kidnappings has already begun, according to Fedorov.

"A few days ago, one of the local shepherds was abducted in the city's central square. Today, we do not know where he is. Several activists have also been abducted. All this is being done to intimidate the peaceful in order to show that no resistance or disobedience is possible," the official said.

More than 15,000 Ukrainians have gone missing since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, Liudmyla Denisova, Ukraine's parliament commissioner for human rights, confirmed back in April.

Ukrainian police have opened 15,000 missing person cases during the conflict, and around 50% of those people have reportedly been found.

Some of the identified bodies showed signs of violent death, according to police.

Russian forces in occupied parts of Ukraine have previously been accused of abducting and detaining Ukrainian journalists, public officials, civil rights activists and civilians who are vocal against the invasion to intimidate local communities.

Killing, torturing or taking hostage of non-combatants in war violates the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, the "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity" that was "carried out unlawfully and wantonly" is considered a war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Russia has denied claims that its forces committed war crimes in the invasion of Ukraine. However, Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating more than 15,000 cases of possible war crimes.


In Berdyansk and Melitopol, Moscow is laying the groundwork for a future with Russia
In Berdyansk and Melitopol, Moscow is laying the groundwork for a future with Russia
Photo: AFP / Andrey BORODULIN

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