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Two Boys Held Hostage in Chelyabinsk Freed

Two children held hostage by a "wanted man" in a Chelyabinsk apartment have been freed following a successful rescue operation by the police. The criminal was detained in the process.

Police received a call about a hostage situation on 27 Ulitsa Lebedinskogo at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday and arrived to find the perpetrator armed with a knife and threatening two boys, aged 11 and 17. It soon became clear that the offender was under the influence of narcotics, the regional Interior Ministry's office said.

Police and other law enforcement agencies quickly responded to the situation and began negotiations with the hostage taker.

The man gave up the younger of the two boys almost immediately before demanding that the police "come and detain him."

His apparent willingness to be detained was taken to be a ruse by the police, who decided to storm the apartment.

"At 9:27 p.m. as a result of a special rescue operation the man was detained and the [remaining] hostage was freed," the police statement said.

The man from the Kurgan region turned out to be a repeat offender who is currently on the federal wanted list in connection with a series of other crimes. There was some confusion about the man's age, as police said he was 33-years-old, while prosecutors described a 43-year old suspect in their reports.

He faces charges of illegal confinement and illegal entry, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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