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Ukraine hostage siege ends after President Zelensky fulfills gunman’s bizarre demand & publicly endorses 2005 Joaquin Phoenix film

Ukraine hostage siege ends after President Zelensky fulfills gunman’s bizarre demand & publicly endorses 2005 Joaquin Phoenix film
The gunman who took some 20 people hostage in a western Ukrainian city has freed them after President Volodymyr Zelensky fulfilled his rather strange wish.

Giving in to the gunman’s demands, Zelensky recorded a short video address and released it online. By then, the hostage situation in the city of Lutsk had been unfolding for more than nine hours.

“The film ‘Earthlings’, 2005. Must watch, everyone,” the president says in the clip – exactly as the hostage-taker requested.

While giving in to a terrorist’s demands might be a controversial tactic, it seemed to have worked this time. Shortly after Zelensky’s address, the gunman released three of his hostages, handing them over to the deputy head of national police. Shortly afterwards, he apparently let the rest of the people go.

Footage showed Ukrainian police detaining the suspect after tackling him to the ground.

Shortly after the suspect was detained, Zelensky thanked everyone involved in rescuing the hostages, stressing that he was particularly glad that no one was killed during the standoff. He also deleted the embarrassing video.

The bus standoff began early on Tuesday, when the armed man, identified as Maksim Krivosh, 44, entered the vehicle. Some 20 people were inside at the time.

Photos circulating online suggest the attacker was armed with a shortened military-grade AK assault rifle, a revolver and at least two grenades, one of which appears to be a training dummy.

The hostage taker called the police shortly after capturing the bus, introducing himself as Maksim Plokhoy (The Bad). 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 'Earthlings' animal cruelty documentary from 2005.

Also on rt.com Gunman takes commuters hostage on bus in Ukraine, claiming he rigged it with explosives (PHOTOS)

Ukrainian police say the suspect had spent over 10 years behind bars for assorted crimes. These included fraud, robbery, extortion and illegal firearms possession, according to Deputy Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko.

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