(LUTSK, Ukraine) — An armed man seized a long-distance bus and took individuals in it hostage in northwestern Ukraine on Tuesday launching an hours-long standoff with police, Ukrainian authorities mentioned.
About 10 persons are at the moment being held hostage, Ukraine’s Safety Service mentioned in a Fb assertion. Police earlier had put the quantity at 20. It was unclear how many individuals had been on board to start out with, and whether or not any escaped.
Police sealed off the middle of Lutsk, a metropolis 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of the capital Kyiv. The assailant is armed and carrying explosives, police mentioned. They mentioned he threw a hand grenade that did not explode at officers and shot at them a minimum of twice in the course of the still-ongoing siege.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned negotiations with the person are at the moment underway. “We’re doing every thing to free the hostages,” Zelensky informed reporters.
The person referred to as the police himself at 9:25 a.m. (0625 GMT) after taking management of the bus and launched himself as Maksim Plokhoy, Deputy Inside Minister Anton Gerashchenko mentioned on Fb.
In a Telegram account reportedly belonging to him, Plokhoy apparently admitted to taking individuals on the bus hostage, mentioned that “the state has at all times been and at all times is the primary terrorist” and demanded that high Ukrainian officers launch statements on their social media pages calling themselves terrorists.
In keeping with Gerashchenko, police have recognized the person as Maksim Krivosh, a 44-year-old Ukrainian born in Russia. Krivosh had allegedly been convicted twice on a variety of expenses — theft, fraud, unlawful arms dealing with — and spent a complete of 10 years behind bars.
Inside Minister Arsen Avakov traveled to Lutsk to oversee operations.
Ukrainian media reported that gunshots have been usually heard on the scene. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not anybody has been injured. In keeping with stories, Krivosh tried to achieve out to journalists by hostages and their telephones, demanding that they unfold the phrase about his calls for and get extra reporters to reach to the scene.
Zelensky mentioned earlier on Tuesday he’s personally monitoring the scenario.