Hijack attempt over release of Ukrainian prisoners

By Kyle Johnson,

The Ukrainian man who attempted to hijack an airplane headed to Turkey and divert it towards Sochi was looking for a way to gain the freedom of anti-government protesters held in the Ukraine.

Authorities said that Artem Hozlov, 45, claimed he had a bomb and wanted the plane to fly to Sochi, Russia, reports The Associated Press. The airplane's crew was able to land in Istanbul and authorities detained the man, who was found not to have a bomb.

Transport Minister Lufti Elvan said that they "think it was an individual thing," but Hozlov is still being questioned about possible terror connections.

Ukraine Security Service investigative division head Maxim Lenko said, "The passenger put forth the demand to free the 'hostages' in Ukraine."

As previously reported, Hozlov waited until the plane had taken off from a Ukraine airport and began to claim he had a bomb on board and that he would detonate it unless the flight was flown to Sochi.

The AP notes the prisoners in Ukraine were protesting the government deciding to halt conversations about further working with the European Union. The peaceful protests quickly grew violent, especially after the heavy-handed police response to protesters.



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