Mariano García: Foreign Affairs investigates a complaint about the detention of a Spaniard in Ukraine by the Russian Army | International
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The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is investigating the whereabouts of Valencian retiree Mariano García Calatayud, 73, given the possibility that he may have been detained by the Russian Army during a demonstration against the invasion called in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, which took place on Monday. A Ukrainian friend has told the sister of the retired official that he had been arrested by Russian soldiers and that they had taken him with them, without knowing his current status, as confirmed by the Carlet City Council, where he worked as a police brigade. works the now disappeared.
The aforementioned friend, called Olana, told him that some colleagues saw “how the Russians put him in a car” and they don’t know “anything else”, as Vicenta García Calatayud explained to the Valencian regional television À Punt. “The mobile rings, but he does not pick it up,” she added.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has told this newspaper that its “Embassy in kyiv (currently in Warsaw) and the consular emergency services of the MAEC are closely following this case, investigating the whereabouts of Mario García Calatayud to clarify his situation and remain in contact with his family.
The port enclave of Kherson, on the shore of the Black Sea, has a population of 282,000 inhabitants and is the largest city in Ukraine occupied by Russian troops. There, this Monday, Putin’s forces repressed with live fire (stun grenades and shots) a protest against the Kremlin forces, as reported by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, who assured that a pensioner had been injured.
According to diplomatic sources, García Calatayud was one of the Spaniards who refused to be evacuated along with other citizens in the convoys organized by the Embassy at the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24.
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The retired official left about seven years ago to live in Ukraine with the intention of providing support to the country in the conflict with Russia. He has already spoken out against the annexation of Crimea. He came to create an association through which he has not stopped sending humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens. Recently, he made public the organization of a convoy and has not hidden his support for the Ukrainian cause or his criticism of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The pensioner, paired with a Ukrainian woman, has stated that he is even willing to pick up a gun if need be.
Last Thursday, García Calatayud spoke for the last time with his sister. ”I told him to come, to come back here, that with the danger that exists. And she told me that not at the moment, that she was helping and was not going to leave, ”said Vicenta García in statements to Valencian television.
The information services of the chain spoke with him a day later. He provided them with videos about the peaceful resistance of the citizens of Kherson and told them: “The people are united. That is what Putin did not expect, that here there would be the union that there is.”
The retired municipal works brigade explained that his interest in Ukraine dates back to his father’s teachings regarding the need to help the weakest and how the Ukrainian people gave an example of solidarity by welcoming thousands of minors from republican families during the Spanish Civil War.
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