Zelensky claims Russian forces are ‘kidnapping’ and ‘murdering’ Ukrainian city officials

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It is thought that these actions from Russian troops are in retaliation to the repeated failures of their invasion of Ukraine, reports claim. Reports surfaced on Monday that stated Russian forces have suffered huge losses of 123 warplanes and 127 helicopters as a result of Ukraine’s ground defence systems.

It is also said that 17,000 Russian troops have been killed during the conflict and 586 tanks have been destroyed. 

Alongside the targeting of city officials, it is thought the Russian forces are deliberately pursuing civilian targets.

In a statement from Kyiv, President Zelensky stated: “They are kidnapping the mayors of our cities. They killed some of them. We can’t find some of them.

“We have already found some of them and they are dead.”

He added: “Russian occupiers kidnapped 14 heads of Ukrainian cities and killed some of them.”

On March 7, it was reported that Russian troops shot and killed the Mayor of Hostomel while he was helping trapped residents by delivering bread.

The council from the town situated to the northwest of Kyiv posted on Facebook that the Mayor Yuriy Prylypko and two other officials who worked with him were killed. 

The Mayor of Irpin Oleksandr Markushyn has been reinstated after Ukrainian forces reclaimed their city which the Mayor declared: “We have good news today – Irpin has been liberated.”

Vadym Boichenko, the Mayor of Mariupol, fled his city and said: “The situation in the city remains difficult. People are beyond the line of humanitarian catastrophe. We need to completely evacuate Mariupol.”

This statement came after it was reported by the Kyiv Post that another attempt on the Ukrainian President’s life had been foiled near the Slovakia-Hungarian border.

A group of 25 people that was led by Russian special services to achieve “the physical elimination of the Ukrainian President” was captured near the border.

It is believed the President has survived several assassination attempts of which there may be up to three attempts per week. 

Earlier this month, Presidential advisor Mikhail Podolyak said to Ukrainian Pravda: “Our foreign partners are talking about two or three attempts. I believe that there were more than a dozen such attempts.”

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He added: “We have a very powerful network of intelligence and counterintelligence; they track it all.” 

Mr Podolyak also said the assassin groups are “liquidated on the way”.

Peace talks are due to be held in Turkey on Tuesday to negotiate the conflict and the Ukrainian President said in an interview that his government is ready to discuss neutral status as part of a peace deal.

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