Update: 9:30 p.m.
The armed robber who broke into the Bank of Georgia branch in Kutaisi, western Georgia, on Tuesday has been arrested.
Ketevan Kovziashvili, head of the interior ministry’s strategic communications department, told reporters that the special operation had been “successful” and that “all hostages” had been freed.
Update: 4:30 p.m.
The armed robber who broke into the Bank of Georgia branch in Kutaisi, western Georgia, on Tuesday is demanding $2 million, a helicopter, a Russian flag and a fishing hook in exchange for the release of his hostages, the Georgian public broadcaster said.
In developments following the intrusion earlier today, one of the hostages went live on Facebook, with their footage showing the armed intruder dictating his demands to one of the hostages.
Local media reported that the thief told the hostages he had an explosive device strapped to his body and threatened to activate it if his demands were not met.
Earliest: 1:40 p.m.
Twelve people were taken hostage by an armed robber who broke into the branch of the Bank of Georgia in Kutaisi, in the west of the country, and demanded a large sum of money, the Georgian Ministry of Finance announced. ‘Interior.
The state body noted that law enforcement officers were taking “all necessary steps to […] quick and safe release [of the hostages]”.
She also confirmed that an investigation had been opened into articles of terrorism, the taking of hostages for terrorist purposes and the illegal purchase, storage and transport of ammunition.
Law enforcement was mobilized around a branch of the Bank of Georgia in the western city of Kutaisi as the Interior Ministry said a gunman had gone breaking into the office.
The ministry said officers cordoned off the branch located on Shota Rustaveli Avenue in the city.
Currently, the law enforcement forces mobilized on the spot are taking all necessary and urgent measures, while investigative and operational activities are underway,” noted the state body.
The ministry also called on journalists to observe safety standards and follow police instructions at the scene.