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Ukrainian student's kidnappers demand 5,000 euro ransom from mother

Kidnappers have demanded a 5,000 euro ransom from Olga Novikova, a resident of Mariupol (director of the Cinema and You International Film Festival, co-founder of the Association of Film Commissions of Ukraine), for her son, born in 2004, according to the April 24 post on her Facebook page which is currently unavailable.

Novikova's son is a first-year political science student at Mariupol State University, and the kidnappers claim he has served in the military since February 25. The Ukrainian herself managed to leave Mariupol on March 18 with her grandmother, sister-in-law, and friends, and she last contacted her son on April 14.

The woman told Meduza that on April 24, a man contacted her through her son's social media account, informed her that her son had been captured, and sent her a video of his interrogation. As evidence, the mother was shown only a photo of his documents, including his student ID card and passport. If Novikova failed to give them the money by the end of April 25, they threatened to kill him, but if they received the money, they would send her son to the Russian military commandant's office «along with all the other prisoners of war to work for the benefit of the Soviet Union.»

According to Novikova, the kidnapper who contacted her may be a representative of the «DNR» group. He spoke Russian with a typical Donbass accent and told her to transfer the ransom to a card issued by the Ukrainian PrivatBank. The mother was forbidden to contact the police, and she announced the collection of ransom money on her Facebook page. The woman claims that on the Ukrainian side her son had already been put on the exchange list, and asked for publicity so that «they wont's dare to shoot him».

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