On May 27, 2022, it was reported that armed Russian occupying forces invaded and seized control of Dmytro Motornyi Tavria State Agrotechnological University (TDTAU) and Bohdan Khmelnytsky Melitopol State Pedagogical University (MDPU). Russian occupying authorities then announced that the two universities would be merged into a new “Melitopol State University.”
The move came several months after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine and roughly one month after TDTAU moved its educational programming online. Russian forces who took over the two universities reportedly told employees that the would need to reapply for their positions at the newly merged institution or resign.
Commenting on the merger, the Russian-installed governor of Zaporizhzhia said that the new higher education institution would adapt to the system used by the Russian Federation.
Sources further reported that Yevgeny Balitsky Andrii Chuikov, formerly employed by the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, was appointed rector of the new university by Russian occupying authorities.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the armed invasion and seizure of higher education institutions amid armed conflict. Armed forces and occupying authorities should refrain from seizing or using higher education infrastructure and interfering in higher education governance.