Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said pro-Russians took 60 hostages in Luhansk and placed explosives around the building. These people have been in control of the security building since Sunday. From The Kyiv Post:
“That means they act as terrorists,” the SBU said on its website. “These actions are extremely dangerous as they pose threat to the lives of people in the room and to those who are outside. The Security Service of Ukraine demands that the attackers release the hostages, let them freely leave the building, and lay down their arms and to clear the administation building.”
However, the protesters denied the charges and said they only took automatic rifles.
“We do not need hostages to get what we want,” said Anton, who declined to give his second name.
A video of four masked men was released on YouTube. Three are armed and the fourth speaks directly to the camera. This is what he says:
“I would like to appeal with the official statement from the southeastern headquarters in Luhansk and Luhansk Oblast from the SBU administration office in Luhansk. First of all, here ,in the building of SBU there are no representatives of Russian Federation nor FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) employees and Russian citizens. At this moment ,there are only citizens of Luhansk and our oblast in the building. And we, Afganistan veterans, border guard employees, representatives of peaceful professions have only one legitimate demand: we want to conduct a referendum. This is the desire of our people. We want to be heard. I see you have cut the lights and are preparing an attack. Against who? Against military officers who just want to conduct a referendum? Welcome to hell! We will meet you with with dignity. God go with us, officers!”
The protesters took control of the building on Sunday and demanded independence from Ukraine. They want to hold a referendum similar to Crimea’s referendum from March 16. The Black Sea peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Moscow officially annexed Crimea on March 21.