- On Tuesday, an armed gunman named Maksym Kryvosh took a bus with 13 passengers hostage in western Ukraine, while informing authorities he had a bomb set up somewhere in the city that he could detonate from inside the bus.
- Kryvosh had a few specific demands, including President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly recommending “Earthlings”, a documentary about animal exploitation, as well as for senior Ukrainian politicians to declare themselves terrorists.
- Towards the end of a nearly 12-hour standoff, Kryvosh and Zelensky spoke on the phone, and three hostages were released afterward.
- The other ten were released once the president posted a video on Facebook to his 1,176,687 followers where he said: “The film Earthlings from 2005. Everyone should watch it.”
- After the hostages were freed, and the Facebook post had been deleted, Zelensky released a statement, where he said: “We were not fighting for ratings,” he said. “We were fighting for lives.”
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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was forced to recommend “Earthlings,” an animal-rights documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, on Facebook to save the lives of 10 hostages after a heated 12-hour standoff on Tuesday.
According to reports, at about 9 a.m. local time, on Tuesday morning, a 44-year-old man named Maksym Kryvosh, armed with an automatic rifle and grenades, took control of a bus with 13 passengers in Lustk, a city in western Ukraine.
Kryvosh called the police at 9.25 a.m. to report he had taken the bus hostage and that it was rigged with explosives, according to a statement from Zelensky.
He also told the authorities he had set up another bomb somewhere in the city that he could detonate from the bus, and demanded that senior politicians declare they were terrorists, according to the BBC.
Onboard, during a nearly 12-hour standoff, while armed forces surrounded the bus, and nearby apartment buildings were evacuated, he showed the hostages “Earthlings,” a 2005 Hollywood documentary about animal suffering caused by human exploitation, with a soundtrack by Moby, according to The New York Times.
He fired shots at least once over the head of a senior police commander who tried to approach the bus and negotiate.
The standoff ended shortly after Kryvosh and Zelensky spoke on the phone for about 15 minutes.
Three hostages were released first, followed by the other 10 once Zelenskiv posted a video on Facebook to his 1,176,687 followers, where he said: “The film Earthlings from 2005. Everyone should watch it.”
Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko posted photos of Kryvosh once he’d been arrested, face down on the ground, ABC News reported.
After the hostages were freed, and the Facebook post had been deleted, Zelensky released a statement, where he said: “We were not fighting for ratings,” he said. “We were fighting for lives.”
According to Ukrainian authorities, Kryvosh had spent 10 years in prison after being convicted for fraud and illegally possessing fire arms.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told journalists that another “lengthy prison sentence” awaited him.
No one was harmed, although there were bullet holes in the bus, The Times reported.