Ukrainian special forces have detained a man who claimed he had a bomb in his backpack and had threatened to blow up a business center in the capital.
The perpetrator made his way into a bank in the Leonardo business center at noon, announcing that he was carrying an explosive device. He had a cord attached to his leg, which was attached, in turn, to a backpack he claimed contained a bomb.
He ordered an employee to call the police, reportedly wanted to give an interview to the media, and demanded 40,000 hryvnas, which is a rather modest sum – around $1,440.
The bank staff were able flee the building, but their female boss elected to remain inside as a hostage.
Police and special forces soon arrived on site, blocking the entrance to the business center with an armored vehicle.
Law enforcement agents initially offered the man the chance to surrender, but he refused to do so.
As a result, members of Ukraine’s Security Service, wearing civilian clothes, moved in and detained the hostage-taker, with his swift arrest being broadcast live on the internet.
“The explosion didn’t happen,” Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook, adding that the “terrorist was captured alive.”
The man was identified as Sukhrob Karimov, 32, a citizen of Uzbekistan. Gerashchenko speculated that he may be a “mentally unstable person.”
He later revealed that the man was bluffing and was not armed with a bomb. No explosive devices were discovered by sappers when they searched the building.
A criminal case of terrorism has nonetheless been launched against him for hostage-taking and threatening an explosion.
Gerashchenko pointed out that today’s events in Kiev appeared to mirror an incident last month in the western city of Lutsk in which a gunman took around 20 hostages. He later freed his captives, after President Volodymyr Zelensky complied with his demand to publicly endorse “Earthlings,” a 2005 American documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix about humanity’s use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research. Police were then able to successfully disarm and arrest the hostage-taker.
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