News Ukraine hostage drama: Armed man holding 10 people on bus in centre of Lutsk
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Ukraine hostage drama: Armed man holding 10 people on bus in centre of Lutsk

Streets are closed off in the centre of Lutsk after an armed man seized a bus and took some 20 people hostage on Tuesday. Photo: AP
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A man who said he was armed with weapons and explosives has seized a long-distance bus in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk and taken a number of people on board hostage.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “shots were heard, the bus was damaged”.

Police blocked off the city centre, which is about 400 kilometres west of the country’s capital Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Security Service said in a Facebook statement about 10 people are being held hostage, revised down from an earlier police estimate of 20.

The man was identified as 44-year-old Maksym Kryvosh, born in Russia.

Police said in a statement that he had said he was armed with explosives and weapons.

 

Police said Kryvosh threw a hand grenade that failed to explode at officers and shot at them at least twice during the still-ongoing siege.

In posts on social media, he demanded that senior Ukrainian officials publish statements saying that they were terrorists.

He also threatened to detonate another bomb in a crowded place.

Suspect Maksim Krivosh. Photo: Ukrainian Police Press Office via AP

The man called the police at 9.25am on Tuesday, local time,  after taking control of the bus and introduced himself as Maksim Plokhoy, Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said on Facebook.

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

According to Mr Gerashchenko, police have identified the man as Maksim Krivosh, a 44-year-old Ukrainian born in Russia.

Krivosh 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.

Streets in Lutsk were cordoned off by uniformed personnel, police cars and an armoured personnel carrier.

“We are in full control of the situation,” Mr Zelenskiy’s press service quoted him as saying.

“I know all the details. I am talking with our specialists who are in Lutsk.

“Professionals are working, doing everything to free our hostages.”

Photos showed a small bus parked in the middle of an empty street.

Two windows of the bus were smashed and other windows were covered with curtains.

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

-AAP