Ukraine passenger bus seized by gunman ‘armed with explosives’ with 20 hostages on board.
A passenger bus with 20 people on board has been taken over by a gunman armed with explosives in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk.
Police have blocked off the centre of the city, located 250 miles west of Kiev, while the demands of the assailant were not immediately known.
Officers said in a statement on Facebook that the hostage-taker was armed and carrying explosives.
Local media reported that gunshots have been heard in the area but it remains unclear whether anyone has been hurt.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the reports about gunshots and stressed that measures were being taken to resolve the situation without casualties.
In a statement on Facebook, the president said: “Gunshots have been heard, the bus is damaged.”
A photograph from the scene, which shows a broken mirror towards the front of the bus, corroborates the president’s comments.
Anton Geraschenko, the deputy interior minister, said the hijacker called the police himself to inform them about the hostage situation, introducing himself as Maksim Plokhoy.
Mr Geraschenko added that a man of the same name has written an online book about life in prison.
“For 15 years they’ve been correcting me, but I haven’t been corrected, on the contrary – I’ve become even more who I am,” one passage from the book said, according to Mr Gerashchenko.
In response to the incident, interior minister Arsen Avakov is on his way to Lutsk.