A vehicle hijacking suspect has threatened to blow himself up, along with a police officer, in the city of Poltava in northeastern Ukraine. Negotiations have seen the hostage traded for a local police chief.
Police tried to detain a man suspected of possessing a stolen vehicle. Deputy Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko said the suspect grabbed one of the officers by the hand and was holding him tightly while threatening to set off the grenade. The suspect later agreed to release the officer in exchange for a local police chief and a new car, Herashchenko added.
Herashchenko told Channel 112 that the suspect is currently driving around the city with the new hostage, escorted by patrol cars.
It is unclear where the man is headed, but local media have said his car is moving in the direction of Ukraine’s capital Kiev. According to local media, the suspect is a 32-year-old man who was previously convicted of drug offenses.
The crisis comes just two days after a dramatic hostage situation in another Ukrainian city, as a gunman seized a passenger bus in the center of Lutsk and threatened to blow it up. The siege lasted for around 12 hours, and the hostages were freed after President Volodymyr Zelensky personally negotiated with the terrorist, who was arrested.
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