Ukrainian police detain man threatening to blow up Kyiv bank

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Ukraine’s special police prepare to storm a city bank in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, after a man has threatened to blow up an explosive device inside the bank. The man, identified as Sukhrob Karimov, a 32-year-old citizen of the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, entered a bank office in Kyiv and said he had explosives in his backpack. He let bank clerks go and demanded that the authorities invite journalists so that he could make a statement. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Police detained a man who allegedly threatened to set off an explosive device at a bank in Ukraine’s capital and demanded to speak with journalists Monday.

The man, identified as Sukhrob Karimov, a 32-year-old citizen of the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, entered a bank office in Kyiv and said he had explosives in his backpack, police said. He let all but one bank clerk go and told authorities to invite journalists to listen to him make a statement.

Officers burst into a room in the bank while the man was talking to a journalist. Officials initially said after the suspect was detained that police found elements of an explosive device but later clarified that the suspect had been bluffing and no actual explosives were found.

The incident follows a dramatic hostage-taking episode last month when an armed assailant seized 13 hostages on a bus in the western city of Lutsk and held them for more than 12 hours before surrendering to police.

The assailant agreed to release the hostages following a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who agreed to post a video urging all Ukrainians to watch “Earthlings,” a 2005 American documentary exposing humanity’s cruel exploitation of animals.

A few days later in the city of Poltava, a criminal suspect brandishing a hand grenade forced a senior police officer to drive him for hours through the countryside. Other officers pursued the car, and the man eventually abandoned his hostage in the vehicle and fled into a forest.

After a search that lasted more than a week, the man was tracked down Saturday. Authorities said the suspect was police while resisting arrest.

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