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Sign showing the support of the Lithuanian town for its sister city in Ukraine, Source: Kėdainiai Municipality

Lithuanian mayor expressed outrage about abduction of Ukrainian peer

Lithuanian mayor expressed outrage about abduction of Ukrainian peer

Kėdainiai and Melitopol are sister cities

Valentinas Tamulis, the mayor of the Lithuanian municipality of Kėdainiai, called on the European Committee of the Regions and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to take a firmer stance and demand the release of Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the Ukrainian city who was abducted by Russian soldiers on Friday, 11 March.

Mr Fedorov was forcefully arrested after the invading Russian troops took over his city. He was replaced with a pro-Russian mayor. Lithuanian mayors have been quite vocal and proactive in expressing their discontent with the events in Ukraine and showing support for the plight of the people and cities there.

Kėdainiai and Melitopol are twinned cities. The day when the arrest happened was also Lithuania's Restoration of Independence Day and the citizens of Kėdainiai marked it by sending donation packages to the citizens of Melitopol.

Solidarity between local governments in Europe

The mayor of Kėdainiai called on the representatives of European cities and regions to respond to this unprecedented act by expressing solidarity with the mayor of Melitopol and its inhabitants.

"I also call for the termination of any cooperation with the Russian government. On behalf of the freely and democratically elected representatives of Kėdainiai municipality, I appeal to you, dear representatives of European regions and cities, and urge your governments to use all their leverage to demand the immediate release of Melitopol,” he stated, as quoted by LRT.

He was of the opinion that the conduct of his Ukrainian peer was heroic and so were the actions of the local residents who at the risk of their lives, protested against the occupiers, and took to the streets with Ukrainian flags, defending their right to live in a free, democratic and European Ukraine.

The Lithuanian mayor then also organized a protest, on Sunday, in front of the Russian embassy in Vilnius calling for the release of his peer.

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