World Bulletin / News Desk
Fifty-six hostages were released from a state security service building on Wednesday that was seized by pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk city in eastern Ukraine after negotiations between protesters and officials.
The Luhansk security services building was among several government offices seized by pro-Russian groups on Sunday. Ukraine's security service (SBU) said on Tuesday that the protesters were holding 60 personnel hostage.
The SBU issued a statement early on Wednesday saying that 51 people had left the building uninjured. Five more were released following negotiations between the protesters and officials, the security service announced.
The SBU also said that protesters allowed some Ukrainian lawmakers to enter the building while the negotiations were continuing between the protesters and local officials to end the occupation.
Pro-Russia protesters in the east of Ukraine are demanding regional referendums on independence from Kiev.
The unrest comes amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Russia invaded Crimea last month and most recently deployed between 40,000-50,000 combat-ready troops along Ukraine’s eastern borders.
Putin claims Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population is under threat from radical Ukrainian-speaking ultra-nationalists and has vowed to use force to protect the country's ethnic Russian population.Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 11:46