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An officer at the scene.
An officer at the scene.
Image: PA Images

Ukrainian police say hostages freed and man detained after bus siege

The assailant was armed and carrying explosives, police said.
Jul 21st 2020, 5:27 PM 11,907 3

Updated Jul 21st 2020, 8:16 PM

THE SIEGE OF a bus with about 20 passengers by an armed man today has ended with all the hostages freed, Ukrainian police said.

“The hostages are freed! The man who took hostages and kept them on a bus in Lutsk has been detained,” the interior ministry posted on Telegram.

Officers had earlier sealed off the centre of Lutsk, a city about 400km west of the capital Kiev.

The assailant was armed and carrying explosives, police said. He had refused the authorities’ offer to deliver water and food to the hostages.

At one point, he threw explosives out of a bus window, but no one was hurt. He also fired several shots at a police drone.

The man called police after taking control of the bus and introduced himself as Maksim Plokhoy, deputy interior minister Anton Gerashchenko said.

‘Terrorists’

In a Telegram account reportedly belonging to him, Plokhoy apparently admitted taking people on the bus hostage, said “the state has always been and always is the first terrorist”, and demanded that senior Ukrainian officials release statements on their social media pages calling themselves terrorists.

According to Gerashchenko, police have identified the man as Krivosh, a 44-year-old Ukrainian born in Russia. He had allegedly been convicted twice on a wide range of charges — robbery, fraud, illegal arms handling — and spent a total of 10 years behind bars.

Interior minister Arsen Avakov travelled to Lutsk to supervise operations.

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According to reports, Krivosh tried to reach out to journalists through hostages and their phones, demanding they spread the word about his demands and get more reporters at the scene.

Zelenskiy said earlier today that he is personally monitoring the situation.

With reporting from AFP

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