According to The New York Times, a standoff between the hostage taker, identified as Maksim Krivosh, and the police lasted nearly 12 hours. One of the man’s demands was that President Volodymyr Zelensky tell Ukrainians to watch the 2005 film “Earthlings,” narrated by Phoenix.
Zelensky followed the request, posting on Facebook, “Everybody watch the 2005 documentary ‘Earthlings.'” He later deleted the post.
The film examines the use of animals in agricultural and scientific industries and includes hidden camera footage of animals suffering. It also compares speciesism to racism and sexism among humans.
After Zelensky posted the message about “Earthlings,” Krivosh released all the hostages and surrendered to police, according to The New York Times. He had let three hostages go earlier in the day after speaking to the president over the phone. None of the hostages were harmed.
Krivosh had seized a bus and barricaded himself in the city of Lutsk on Tuesday morning. He posted his manifesto and demands on Twitter earlier in the day. Including his demand about “Earthlings,” he asked that government officials and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church post messages saying that they are terrorists.
Local media outlets reported that Krivosh showed “Earthlings” to the hostages on the bus.
Krivosh was armed with a rifle and explosives, and several of the bus windows were struck by bullets, but there was no bloodshed, according to The New York Times. Zelensky issued a statement after the hostages were freed and Krivosh was arrested, saying “We were not fighting for ratings. We were fighting for lives.”