Ukrainian gunman releases captives after demand for documentaries meets

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Mr. Krivosh specifically demanded that Mr. Zelensky approve the documentary “Earthlings”. He also showed the documentary to his hostages on the bus, local media reported.

Videos and photographs of the scene in Lutsk, a city in northwestern Ukraine, showed police chasing pedestrians away from the bus. Security forces were seen taking cover behind utility poles and police cars. Residents of neighboring apartment buildings were evacuated.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr Zelensky said in a statement that a man had called police to announce that he had captured the bus. He said he would try to resolve the impasse without bloodshed.

Mr. Zelensky’s approval of the “Terrans” could be seen as responding to a terrorist’s request. But it also fits in with what his office has said is a negotiating strategy aimed primarily at avoiding angering a heavily armed man with hostages.

Mr Zelensky, in a statement released after the hostages were released, hinted he didn’t mind appearing to lose face if it saved lives. “We weren’t fighting for the odds,” he said. “We were fighting for lives.”

He deleted the post approving the movie.

Three people were released after the president and the hostage taker spoke on the phone, with the remaining hostages released after Mr. Zelensky released his statement on “Terrans”. Mr Krivosh then surrendered, police said.

It is not known how Mr. Krivosh obtained his weapons. But in the early years of the separatist war in eastern Ukraine, volunteers from paramilitary groups waged much of the fighting on the Ukrainian side. Over the years, some military weapons they carried on the front lines, including automatic rifles, hand grenades and other explosives, have disappeared from arsenals and have been used in crimes far from the front line, including domestic violence.

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