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Man held in attempted murder probe after incident outside Ukrainian embassy

Scotland Yard said a vehicle was driven at police when they arrived at the scene in west London.

The scene near the Ukrainian Embassy in Holland Park, west London (Jonathan Brady/PA)
The scene near the Ukrainian Embassy in Holland Park, west London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven at police officers outside the Ukrainian embassy in London.

Police fired shots at the scene in Holland Park in the west of the capital after the Ukrainian ambassador’s car was “deliberately rammed” twice on Saturday morning.

Scotland Yard said a vehicle was driven at officers when they arrived at the scene and a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of police officers and criminal damage.

Police firearms and Taser were discharged in the incident, and the man, who was not injured, was taken to hospital as a precaution and is now in custody at a central London police station.

Armed officers were deployed to the incident “as part of the protective security arrangements for London”, police said.

The Met said officers were called at approximately 9.50am to reports of anti-social behaviour involving a car in Holland Park.

On arrival, the car was driven and was in collision with a number of parked vehicles near the Ukrainian embassy.

The incident is not being treated as terrorist-related.

Witness Darcy Mercier described the “really strange” event to the BBC, saying the car was “blasting Ukrainian music in some kind of protest against the embassy” after arriving at about 7am.

He said: “I was out on my terrace when he started ramming the car and then the police arrested him.

“I asked him to turn down the music and he said that he was playing Ukrainian music for the Ukrainian Embassy and was a little bit belligerent.”

Footage showed armed police surround the silver Mercedes before smashing the driver’s window and using a Taser on the screaming suspect.

A statement from the Ukrainian embassy said: “The official vehicle of the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom was deliberately rammed as it sat parked in front of the Embassy of Ukraine’s building.

“The police were called immediately, and the suspect’s vehicle was blocked up.

“Nevertheless, despite the police actions, the attacker hit the ambassador’s car again.

“In response, the police were forced to open fire on the perpetrator’s vehicle.”

The embassy said no staff were injured.

The Met declined to confirm whether or not ambassador Natalia Galibarenko was in her car at the time.

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Forensic officers at the scene near the Ukrainian Embassy (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Mercedes was the subject of a forensic investigation on Saturday afternoon.

The vehicle appeared to have been backed into a black car which was heavily scuffed on its right-hand side.

Police used a sniffer dog to search the area.

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Pointers are laid at the scene by forensic officers (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Emma Slatter, who is Visa’s general counsel, watched the Mercedes collide with the car from her home with her partner, David Hinsley, a banker who is also in his 50s.

Then came gunfire.

“I think I heard about half a dozen shots,” she said.

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Police apprehend a suspect near the Ukrainian embassy in Holland Park (Emma Slatter/PA)

Another resident, mother-of-two Heather Feiner, said: “My kids were hanging out in the living room. They said, ‘Mum, is that firecrackers?'”

“I saw all this police activity. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on?’,” added Ms Feiner, who is originally from Texas in the US.

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A forensic officer bags evidence after examining the silver car (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Chief Superintendent Andy Walker, from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command, said: “As is standard procedure, an investigation is now ongoing into the discharge of a police firearm during this incident.”

The Met said the Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed.

PA

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