Zelenskiy spoke directly with Kryvosh, a spokeswoman said, after which three of the hostages were released from the bus. The rest were released shortly after he posted a short video online about a Joaquin Phoenix film critical of the poor treatment of animals.

“The film Earthlings from 2005. Everyone should watch it,” Zelenskiy said in the video released over Facebook. It was deleted after Kryvosh surrendered and replaced with a note thanking police and others who helped end the hostage crisis.

“Human life is the most important value. We have not lost anyone,” Zelenskiy wrote.