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Friday, 10 March, 2000, 00:45 GMT
Ukrainian siege over


A group of young Ukrainian nationalists who seized the Communist party's headquarters in Kiev on Thursday has surrendered after a thirteen-hour stand-off with police.

The group had doused the building with petrol, threatening to set it ablaze, but in the end left peacefully in police custody. A police spokesman said they would be charged with illegal occupation and could face up to five years in jail. The group had been demanding a ban on the Communist party and Ukraine's withdrawal from the CIS, an alliance of former Soviet republics.

The group took no hostages, expelling the Communist party officials as they seized the building.

But one elderly official was left behind; only to be promptly freed several hours later when he started banging on the window to be let out.

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