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Standoff Ends Due to Odd Request


A gunman in Ukraine armed with an automatic rifle and grenades surrendered and released 13 hostages after the country’s president agreed to a demand: recommend the 2005 film Earthlings, starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke directly with the gunman, 44-year-old Maksym Kryvosh after which three of the hostages were released from the bus, a spokesperson tells The Guardian. The rest were released shortly after Zelenskiy posted a short video online about the Joaquin Phoenix-led film, which is critical of the poor treatment of animals.

“The film Earthlings from 2005. Everyone should watch it,” Zelenskiy said in the since-deleted video posted on Facebook.

Kryvosh is an animal rights activist who reportedly spent nearly a decade in prison on fraud and weapons charges, according to local media. He was described by police as “unstable” after the incident.

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