Russia-Ukraine war: Zelensky says 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed
More than 2,000 people of the now-Russian-controlled southern city rallied outside the city administration building, demanding the mayor's release.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that some 1,300 Ukrainian forces have been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
At a press conference, Volodymyr Zelensky said that rather than trading ultimatums, negotiating teams from Kyiv and Moscow had begun discussing concrete themes.
He urged Western countries to become more active in peace talks, but praised Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine has killed almost 12,000 Russian troops and destroyed 1,205 armoured vehicles, 58 aircraft, 83 helicopters, 362 tanks, 585 vehicles, and 135 artillery pieces, according to a data sheet released by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier in the day.
On Friday, between 500 and 600 Russian soldiers surrendered to Ukrainian forces, according to Zelensky.
On Saturday, large crowd gathered in Melitopol's southern port to protest the alleged kidnapping of the city's mayor, Ivan Fedorov, by Russian troops, an act characterised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as "a crime against democracy."
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Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday, and urged them to influence the Kiev authorities to stop "criminal acts" of Ukrainian "nationalist battalions," according to the Kremlin.
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The German government stated in a statement that Macron and Scholz advocated an urgent ceasefire and a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, citing the 75-minute meeting as part of ongoing international efforts to end the violence, according to Xinhua.
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The three leaders discussed issues pertaining to agreements being worked out concerning the implementation of earlier Russian demands, according to the Kremlin. Putin gave a "detailed account of the series of talks held via videoconference by Russian and Ukrainian representatives over the past days," and the three leaders reviewed issues pertaining to agreements being worked out concerning the implementation of earlier Russian demands, according to the Kremlin.
(With inputs from agencies)