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Pro-Russian militants free 56 Ukrainian `hostages`: Security service

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 14:02

Kiev: More than 50 people held "hostage" by pro-Russian militants who seized a security building in eastern Ukraine have been released, the state security service said on Wednesday.

Ukraine`s SBU security agency said on Tuesday that separatists who had seized its regional headquarters in Lugansk on Sunday had mined the building and were holding 60 people "hostage".

The SBU said on Wednesday that 56 people had walked free thanks to two rounds of negotiations.

The agency did not specify how many people were still allegedly being held against their will inside the barricaded building.

"No one was injured," the SBU statement said.

"In order to minimise the risks to the lives and safety of citizens, the negotiations process is continuing."

The brief statement said the negotiations were led by several lawmakers from Ukraine`s parliament,
without saying which party they represented.

The SBU said on Tuesday that "Lugansk separatists have mined the SBU building and taken 60 hostages."

But it never explained how it obtained the information or why it was released only two days after the raid.

The Lugansk attack occurred on the same day that militants also took control of the main administration offices of the eastern cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk.

The Kharkiv regional building was retaken by Ukrainian security personnel on Tuesday morning.

But the pro-Russians remained in control of the Donetsk office a day after proclaiming the creation of a sovereign "people`s republic" and calling on the Kremlin to send in its troops.

First Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 14:02

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