On December 30, around 2:40 p.m. an armed person wearing mask entered a post office near “Kyivska” metro station and took nine hostages.
At first, the police assumed it was a robbery. The following reports claimed he had an explosive belt on him.
The police immediately closed the area to traffic. The hostage-taker communicated with the police over the hostages’ phones. According to the regional police chief Oleh Bekh, the armed man was angry about the recent prisoners of war exchange between Ukraine and Russian proxies as he stated more captives should have been released.
After several hours of negotiation, the hostage-taker released three women and two children. The released hostages say the man often offered them coffee or tea and told them he had a brain cancer.
“Professional negotiators worked with him. They invited his father and childhood friend. It was difficult to determine whether the person was adequate,” the chief prosecutor of the Kharkiv region Yurii Danylchenko said.
According to the prosecutor, two hours after the first hostages were released one of the women managed to open the door, after which the special police forces sneaked into the post office.
It turns out the hostage-taker is a 40-year-old Kharkivite with a previous criminal record. The detainee faces up to 15 years in jail.
Later, police revealed, that hostages had liberated almost on their own as one of the women abruptly had smashed the stool on the attacker’s head. Then she opened the door and let the police inside. Reportedly, the assaulter’s weapon turned out to be fake.
Text: Irina Klimenko
Photo: Ukrainska Pravda, Svitlana Shekera