There is a hostage crisis in Moscow. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, 25-30 armed Chechens stormed the Sharikopodshipnik House of Culture in Moscow at 22:00 local time last night during a performance of the musical North-Ost taking actors and spectators hostage. Initially some shots were fired in the main hall and then the terrorists released those hostages of Caucasian origin and some children demanding 'an end to the war in Chechnya.' According to witnesses, there are women among the terrorists.
The terrorists have threatened to blow the place up if there is an attempt to storm the building. A Rosbalt correspondent reports that several actors managed to escape through the windows. The terrorists have begun to make a list of the hostages. According to various sources, there are between 600 and 900 people in the building. The terrorists have gathered them in the main hall and begun to list their names and nationalities. There is information that foreigners will be escorted out of the building by diplomats.
Interior armed forces, the FSB and a special unit called Alpha are all present at the scene of the crime. Presidential Advisor Sergei Yastrzhembskiy and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov are also present to try to negotiate the release of the hostages.
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