Ukraine separatists release hostages

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Pro-Russian activists gather behind a barricade with Russian flags in front an entrance of the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the Russian border, in Ukraine, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. A crowd of pro-Russian activists stormed the building on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Local media reported that demonstrators pelted the building with eggs, and then stones, a smoke grenade and finally a firebomb. The flames were reportedly quickly extinguished. (AP Photo/Igor Golovniov)

LUHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's Security Service says all but four of 60 people it said were being held hostage by armed separatists inside the agency's local headquarters in the eastern city of Luhansk have been released.

The Luhansk security services building was among several government offices seized by pro-Russian groups Sunday in an escalation of protests against the interim government in power since the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

As of Wednesday morning, protesters in Luhansk had erected high barricades along a thoroughfare running in front of the security service premises. The protesters say they want autonomy for their region — a demand similar to one that preceded Crimea's annexation by Russia.

All the cities affected by recent unrest are in Ukraine's industrial heartland, along the border with Russia.