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Russian Citizen Detained In Belarus After Trying To Rob Bank

MAHILYOU, Belarus -- Belarusian authorities say they have detained a Russian man who attempted to rob a bank and took several people hostage in the eastern city of Mahilyou.

Aksana Salyanyuk, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee in the Mahilyou region, told RFE/RL that the man, whose identity was not disclosed, entered a Belarusbank branch in the afternoon of November 20 with a gun and demanded cash.

An employee of the bank managed to press an alarm button and police arrived at the site within minutes.

The man then took five people hostage and demanded a car to leave the bank premises.

The suspect released the hostages after a car was given to him but started shooting at law enforcement officers when they tried to stop him.

Police returned fire, wounded the man, and detained him.

The man, who obtained permanent residence in Belarus in September, is facing charges of hostage-taking. He may be imprisoned for up to 12 years if convicted.

The chief of the Investigative Committee’s regional branch, Andrey Lis, said it was the first attempted bank robbery in the city since 2007.

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