Ukrainian Navy Commander Released: Serhiy Haiduk, Other Hostages Freed By Crimean Authorities

KIEV, March 20 (Reuters) - Ukrainian navy commander Serhiy Haiduk and several other hostages detained by Crimean authorities on Wednesday have been released, the Ukrainian presidential website said on Thursday.

A Ukrainian military spokesman said Admiral Serhiy Haiduk had been driven away from a navy compound in Russian-controlled Crimea by what appeared to be Russian special forces.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu asked the authorities in Crimea on Thursday to free the detained hostages and allow them safe passage out of the region. (Reporting By Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Richard Balmforth)