Gunman carrying explosives holds 20 people hostage after seizing bus in Ukraine

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A man armed with explosives holds about 20 people hostage on a bus after complaining about the “Ukrainian system” in a series of online posts.

Police cordoned off the center of Lutsk, a town 400 km west of Kiev, earlier today after a man, surnamed Maxim Bad, took control of a bus and made a series of weird requests.

One photograph showed officers lying on the ground using a car for shelter as they worked to save the victims.

The assailant is armed and carries explosives, officers said in a statement on Facebook. He negotiates with the police over the phone.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the assailant took control of the bus at 9.25am local time (7.25am GMT).

A statement from the attacker said: “There are a lot of people with me – machine guns, grenades, two bombs. He said he had an accomplice “in a crowded part of town”.

Scroll down for the video.

Police cordoned off the center of Lutsk, a town 400 km west of Kiev, earlier today. In the photo, Ukrainian law enforcement officers lie on the ground behind a car near the bus

Police collect supplies as they walk to the bus where 20 people were taken hostage by a gunman

Police collect supplies as they walk to the bus where 20 people were taken hostage by a gunman

The assailant is armed and carries explosives, officers said in a statement on Facebook.  In the photo, the man suspected of being responsible for the hostage situation

The assailant is armed and carries explosives, officers said in a statement on Facebook. In the photo, the man suspected of being responsible for the hostage situation

“The man presented his demands to the police,” police said. “Negotiations with him are underway. We talk to him on the phone.

His demands sounded absurd, calling on senior Ukrainian officials to post videos claiming they were “terrorists by right”.

He also asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to encourage people to watch the 2005 film Earthlings.

Onlookers began to gather as police blocked the road to the bus

Onlookers began to gather as police blocked the road to the bus

Nicknamed Maxim Bad, the assailant posted online: “What is freedom?  Paradise.  How to get there?  Be a criminal.  In the photo, the bus

Officers crawling behind a car near the bus

Nicknamed Maxim Bad, the assailant posted online: “What is freedom? Paradise. How to get there? Be a criminal. In the photo, the bus, left, and officers crawling behind a car, right

A tank parked at the scene to block the road following the seizure of the passenger bus

A tank parked at the scene to block the road following the seizure of the passenger bus

The film chronicles the daily practices of factory farms, research labs and puppy mills, all of which depend entirely on animals for profit.

What were the hostage taker’s bizarre requests?

During negotiations with officers on Tuesday morning, the hostage taker demanded:

  • Senior Ukrainian officials are posting videos claiming they are “terrorists by right”.
  • Ukrainian President Zelensky urges people to watch the 2005 film Earthlings which chronicles the practices of international industries.

Nicknamed Maxim Bad, the assailant posted online: “What is freedom? Paradise. How to get there? Be a criminal.

He previously wrote a book called “Philosophy of a Criminal”.

“My death is not an obstacle to explosions,” he said. “The state has always been and is the first terrorist.

“Shots have been heard, the bus is damaged,” Zelensky said in a statement on Facebook, adding that steps were being taken to resolve the situation without causing any casualties.

He wrote: “Alarming news from Lutsk. In the morning, at 9:25 am, a citizen who informed that he had seized a bus with hostages.

“Currently, the“ hostage ”police operation has been introduced, and the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) has introduced the Boomerang plan.

“It’s done to resolve the situation without victims. Keep the progress of events under personal control.

Bullet holes can be seen on the side of a white bus with blue stripes. Three of the windows are broken.

Authorities identified the man and said he had expressed frustration with the “Ukrainian system” on his social media pages.

Armed officers stand in front of a police van.  The bus where the hostages are held can be seen behind

Armed officers stand in front of a police van. The bus where the hostages are held can be seen behind

Police gang surround the scene as people gather to watch the intense operation unfold

Police gang surround the scene as people gather to watch the intense operation unfold

Authorities identified the man and said he had expressed frustration with the

Authorities identified the man and said he had expressed frustration with the “Ukrainian system” on his social media pages. In the photo, the police cordon

Ukrainian media reported that gunshots could be heard at the scene. It was not immediately clear if anyone had been injured.

A terrified woman called her friend from the bus saying the attacker had explosives.

The security forces surrounded the bus in Lutsk and cordoned off the town. Gunshots were heard at the scene but there was no immediate information about the victims.

The anti-terrorism unit of the Ukrainian Special Security Service is on the scene.

More soon.

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