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Ukrainian President Fulfils Hostage-Taker's Demand as Three Freed in Bus Siege

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Ukraine

The hostage-taker made contact with the police and identified himself as Maksym Plokhoy, deputy interior minister Anton Gerashchenko said.

Video footage and pictures published by local media showed heavily armed police in Lutsk surrounding a blue and white minivan with several windows shattered and its curtains drawn.

The assailant is armed and carrying explosives, officers said in a Facebook statement.

PHOTO: Ukrainian law enforcement officers take part in a hostage rescue operation, after an unidentified person seized a passenger bus in the city of Lutsk, Ukraine July 21, 2020. The man allegedly posted his demands on Twitter, now the police monitor his account, trying to call him.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting so far.

Armed special police and security forces have cordoned off the central square and residents have been urged to stay away from the site. He also rolled out demands to top Ukrainian officials, telling them to film videos of themselves acknowledging they were "terrorists under law", and called upon the President to promote the animal cruelty documentary from 2005.

Gerashchenko added the man had previously spent around 10 years in prison for a variety of offences, including fraud and illegal handling of weapons.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov was travelling to the region to coordinate a resolution to the crisis, the ministry said.

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

Zelenskiy said earlier on Tuesday he is personally monitoring the situation.

PHOTO: Ukrainian law enforcement officers lie on the ground behind a vehicle near a passenger bus, which was seized by an unidentified person in the city of Lutsk, Ukraine July 21, 2020. It was not immediately clear whether anyone has been injured.

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