Russian man takes four hostage, demands pizza

A man in southern Russia took four people hostage for several hours on Thursday in a bizarre abduction where his first demand was a takeaway pizza and a fizzy drink, police said.

Armed with a fake pistol and explosives, the 25-year-old burst into a college in the city of Astrakhan located 1,500 kilometres southeast of Moscow, and took four people hostage.

After several hours he released the two female students, a teacher and a security guard unharmed.

"His only demand was a pizza and Sprite," police spokesman Pyotr Rusanov told AFP, adding that the hostage taker had locked himself and his hostages in a classroom.

Police cordoned off the building and met the man's demands by delivering the requested food and drink, he added.

After the negotiations that lasted several hours, all the hostages were released unharmed, police said, adding the hostage taker himself was detained.

Regional investigators later said the man identified as Alexander Kuptsov also demanded an SUV and 50,000 rubles ($1,625) after he released the first hostage, adding he planned to put forward additional demands later.

Police then broke into the classroom releasing the rest of the hostages.

A spokesman for the regional investigators said the man apparently wanted to leave Astrakhan.